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The Feedback Questions that Change Everything

When was the last time you received useful feedback?

Everyone who craves excellence craves feedback. You need to know how you’re doing and how to improve.

You never reach excellence without feedback.

Honesty is problem one:

The higher you go the more likely people say what they’re expected to say, not what they believe. Honest feedback is rare.

Asking is problem two:

Jim Kouzes said nearly two million people had taken their 360-degree feedback tool. The statement that consistently receives the lowest rating is, “Asks for feedback on how his/her actions affect other people’s performance.”

You don’t receive feedback because you don’t ask.


Great feedback begins with great questions. “How am I doing?” is not a great beginning.

Specific performance feedback:

  1. What do you think I was trying to accomplish when I ______? (Fill in the blank with an outcome, “Led the meeting,” for example.)
  2. What did I do that made you think I was ______? (Fill in the blank with their response to #1.)
  3. How could I better accomplish _______?
  4. What should I keep doing?

Global role-feedback:

Ask these questions without mentioning specific outcomes.

  1. What do you think/perceive I am trying to accomplish as a _____? (Leader, manager, coach, spouse, etc.)
  2. What am I doing that makes you think I’m trying to accomplish _____?
  3. How could I improve what you think I’m trying to accomplish?
  4. “How/where do you fit into what I’m trying to accomplish?” (Nathan, Thanks for giving me this powerful question.)
  5. How can I help you better fit in?

The feedback question that changes everything uses behaviors to identify what’s really going on. It doesn’t begin with a list of job responsibilities.

How can leaders invite feedback?

What questions invite useful feedback?

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