CEO Lou Solomon had a chronic habit of being tardy to meetings—until she received feedback from a client in a cordial but no-nonsense manner about how the image she was projecting could impede her success. She’s been early to meetings ever since and shared her experience in a 2016 HBR.org article, “Two-Thirds of Managers Are Uncomfortable Communicating with Employees.” Solomon says, “When offered with respect, honest feedback—even when critical—can have a major impact on your career and your personal life.”1
How many of us like feedback? And how often does it help us versus make us feel disappointed or inadequate? Marshall Goldsmith has turned this technique on its head, providing a fun and helpful way to get answers to a problem or concern you are working on. Feedforward is a fun (yes, fun) and effective way to quickly get a lot of ideas around a challenge you’re facing.1
I often ask the leaders for whom I consult two simple questions:
First, “Do you need positive feedback to do your best at work—like you need air and water?” Typically, a small percentage will say yes.
Second, I ask the question with a twist: “When you get an ‘atta-boy’ or ‘atta-girl,’ does it make a difference?” Almost everyone, every time, says yes!