Feedback is a Team Sport

I was recently in a conversation with a client about feedback, how to give and how to receive.

One of her staff (I say staff intentionally as currently their office operates more as a culture of staff/employee versus team), pretty much 99% of the time, is NOT willing to receive feedback. The staff person often becomes immediately reactive to the extreme of either:

  1. walking away
  2. turning her head, with her hand and looking away
  3. turning away and starting a task as if no one is speaking at her (I am intentionally using “at” versus with.)
  4. and the list goes on…

We know that we are not our reactions and yet, there is a compulsion for anyone one of us, in any given day, to react to someone (what they did, didn’t do, said) or something (we read, witnessed).

If we are not our reactions, and have a willingness to delve in and make the choice to change there are ways we start this process (and it is a learning process).

Feedback is a team sport

In an office / team environment, giving and receiving feedback affects the entire office and team. The players: Receiver of feedback. Giver of the feedback.


A number of suggestions have been written, (including the four listed below from HBR”s article: The Right Way to Respond to Negative Feedback) suggesting ways to practice to receive feedback, for example:

  1. Don’t rush to react
  2. Get more data
  3. Find a harbinger (choose one highly visible and symbolic action)
  4. Don’t be a lonely martyr

When one is on the receiving side of feedback (like in any sport – receiving the puck, the football, the basketball), one wants to be in the best state of mind and heart, best position, best location to receive, and best mindset – embracing humility (the willingness to be teachable).

Is it best or fair to be given feedback a the front desk, in the open where clients enter? Is any time the best timing for the position? Not necessarily.

When you are open to receiving feedback, set up the best scenario for both you and the feedback giver. This could mean, choose a safe and receptive environment for both the giving and receiving of feedback. This may mean setting a time in the staff room where you have privacy or stepping away to another part of your office where there is privacy. Find your place and way with this.


Intention of feedback leads the way

When we are the Giver of feedback, I would suggest the first place to start is to check your intention. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I giving feedback because I am reacting to something they or someone said?
  2. How am I feeling inside before I give feedback?
  3. Is this the best time / place to offer feedback?
  4. Is the person I am giving feedback to my responsibility (are they my direct report) or do I need to speak with someone else first?

Feedback as a team sport means that you, as the Giver of feedback, want to create the best environment for success, for you and the receiver.

An Environment for Success

Feedback comes from our heart And can be kind

One of my coaches reminded me (on a group call) that “love (and feedback) is kind”. That means, when someone asks you if the outfit they are wearing looks good, and you are their trusted friend or colleague, you might want to refrain from saying “that looks like crap on you” and offer a different perspective by asking: How to you feel in it? If they respond they feel 100% great, then be kind and go with it.

An environment for success, with feedback being treated as a team sport means there are guidelines, rules and codes of conduct.

If you are an owner, leader, staff person, each person is involved in the game of business, and part of that game includes the actions of giving and receiving feedback.

Explore if your culture one such that your team members have embraced the principles of giving and receiving feedback in a kind supportive way.

Have fun in the inquiry.

Christine Paquette is Founder and Owner of Bridge Dynamics. Christine is a Business and Accountability Coach and Strategic Work Session Facilitator offering Coaching Solutions with ROI. She facilitates professional development sessions including: Develop Your Ideal Presence ©, 9 to Fine ©, Leading from all Levels ©, Organization Well-Being ©, Shifting Organizational Culture © and New Leadership for Women ©.

Christine works with Owners, EO Members, CAs, VPs, Directors, Managers and individuals who are ready to Create their 9 to Fine © and reach their personal and professional goals.