The ABCs of Giving and Seeking Feedback that Really Works

Apathy resents and rejects feedback, but everyone who cares to improve wants to know how they’re doing.

Feedback is essential for growth and development. The only way to grow is to receive feedback that works.

Humble aspiration craves useful feedback.

Sheep dog leading a sheep.

The question, "How am I doing?" is an invitation to let others lead your life.


#1. Never begin feedback by saying, “I have some advice for you.”

Feedback isn’t advice, although the process of development may include giving and seeking advice.

Unrequested advice typically receives resistance.

#2. Never seek feedback by asking a stupid question like, “How am I doing?”

The answer to “How am I doing?” is subjective. The next person you ask may have a contradictory response. What will you do then?

The question, “How am I doing?” is an invitation to let other people lead your life.


Feedback is never punishment. The singular goal of feedback is improvement.

Feedback enables people to see themselves in relation to their own values. Useful feedback enables people to move toward their own goals.

Effective feedback empowers.

The ABCs of useful feedback:

Julie Winkle Giulioni recently published, The ABCs of Soliciting and Accepting Feedback. I’ve adapted her approach below.


  1. What do you see me doing when I’m most energized?
  2. What strengths or skills enable my most important contribution?
  3. What can you always count on me for? Giulioni

Blind Spots

  1. How might I get in my own way?
  2. How might my strengths work against me? Giulioni
  3. What am I missing? (Put this in a context like leading meetings.)


  1. What do I complain about?
  2. What’s happening when I’m at my best?
  3. What situations seem to drain me? Energize me?

Tip: Adapt the above questions when you give feedback. For example, “You seem most energized when you ________.” Include the follow-up, “What makes that so energizing for you?”

When seeking feedback, what questions work best for you?

When giving useful feedback, what has worked best for you?


Help them Grow or Watch them Go, Beveryly Kaye & Julie Winkle Giulioni

Ready to fix feedback?  Then let’s go “kick some ask!” | Leadership Freak

The ABC’s of Effective Feedback – A Peer-Reviewed Academic Articles | GBR (

How to give better feedback: 3 tips for leaders | The Enterprisers Project