Judging People Doesn’t Mean Giving Them Feedback

Giving a good feedback means supporting people to develop themselves, challenging them constructively and enhancing their growth gradually.

Ken Blanchard, an American author, said “feedback is the breakfast of champions”. I strongly believe that fostering a “feedback culture” is a huge opportunity for everyone in order to cooperate successfully inside the organization.

This is one of the most important responsibilities for a leader, that’s the reason why it is strategic training people who covers managerial roles (and not only them) in delivering feedback properly.

I’ve often observed managers providing employees with “judgements”, instead of constructive feedback. I’ve heard sentences like “you are wrong”, “you were not able to do that”, “you are a bad professional”, “your skills are inadequate”, “your behaviors are wrong”, “you were terrible in doing that” and so on.

You can imagine the reactions they got: frustration, disappointment, demotivation, disengagement…. And, in some cases, resignations in the medium-long term.

Actually, the purpose of giving feedback is to encourage someone to improve a specific behavior: mirroring an objective overview, pointing out tangible examples, suggesting or asking for a different behavior next time. The outcome should always be a measurable action plan, which includes key performance indicators and the person’s commitment.

It could be tricky to reach a good output, if you don’t know how to do it and what are the “effective feedback general rules”. Here below I would share with you the 4 most important ones:

1. An effective feedback is specific, rather than general

2. An effective feedback is descriptive, not evaluative or judgmental

3. An effective feedback is based on facts and not feelings

4. An effective feedback is constructive and forward-looking… not end in itself

People are not “punching-bag” and if they show the right openness to change, it’s a pity to hit them personally due to a lack of professionalism or communication skills.

There is a meaningful Bill Gates’ quote saying: “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”

I definitely agree with him, the way you can give feedback properly is a tool based on communication skills. Let’s learn how to communicate each other and never forget that the art of communication is the language of leadership.


Enza Artino,
International Service Manager c/o Wyser; Coaching Competence Center Manager c/o Gi Group