BackGiving and receiving feedback

Notes by Bruce Hamilton, May 11, 2000


The usual, unspoken setup for an observer giving feedback to a caller is something like the following:The caller can't win this game, and the observer can't lose.  The caller therefore feels defensive, and has a hard time hearing the feedback, let alone learning from it.  There is little incentive for the observer to make the feedback useful, and no process at all for the observer to improve the quality of the feedback.

About these notes:

We attempt to reduce the caller's feelings of defensiveness (so that the feedback can sink in), and to improve the usefulness of the observer's feedback (so that the caller can learn from it).  We can't control the actual setup and assumptions, but we can constrain the caller and observer to act as if  the setup were this:Since there are no accusations or complaints being delivered, there is no need for defense or explanation.  Again, in doing this we have two goals:Here are the guidelines:

Good feedback is:

Some tendencies you may need to fight:

Receiving feedback: