In this episode, Heather Mylan-Mains helps us to be effective in giving feedback and how to receive feedback for the greatest impact.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • The difference between effective and ineffective feedback
  • The problem with annual performance reviews
  • How to make your feedback actionable
  • What to do when you receive feedback



One of the most powerful tools for improving both yourself and your team is feedback. Rich, effective feedback can mean the difference between mediocre performance and making meaningful changes for superstar performance.

The impact of poor feedback habits includes frustrated employees, gaps in expectations, and lower performance than what is possible.

The problem is that we often don’t know how to give good feedback. The difference between good and bad feedback is giving examples or giving opinions.

Bad or ineffective feedback is simply a sharing of an opinion such as “I really like that”. That opinion alone isn’t helpful.

Good feedback includes specifics or examples such as “when you showed that visual on the whiteboard it really helped me to connect to the information” or “I was a bit confused when you shared all of those numbers and didn’t connect it to the main concept”.


The Keys to Giving Effective Feedback

To be effective, feedback must be timely. The longer you wait, the less effective your feedback will be and the less opportunity people have to adapt based on your feedback.

Feedback given performance reviews is often problematic because it isn’t timely or sometimes things that happened recently are identified as patterns instead of isolated incidents.

While it’s important to be timely with feedback, it’s also important to give feedback at the right time. In a tense or emotionally charged situation, it’s often best to wait to provide feedback.

Feedback must also be specific. Telling someone that you liked or didn’t like their presentation isn’t useful. Share with them specifics about what you liked, what you didn’t like, what confused you, or the impact what they did had on you.

Use observable behaviors and facts when getting feedback. Instead of saying “you got mad”, share the behaviors that can be observed such as “when you raise your voice and pounded your fist on the table”. This helps remove opinions and makes the feedback more specific and meaningful.


How to Receive Feedback

To be able to improve yourself, you need to be open to feedback. We need to assume positive intent and not take things personally. If you truly believe that the person giving you feedback once to see you succeed, it’s much easier to accept their feedback.

Remember that feedback is a gift and like a gift, your response should be “thank you”

Be willing to listen regardless of whether or not you agree with their feedback. User active listening skills and take notes when someone is taking the time to give you feedback. You can then choose to evaluate whether the feedback you’ve been provided is an opinion or a fact you can do something with.

Being accepting of feedback creates an environment where people are open to continue giving you and each other feedback. This creates a virtuous cycle of improvement.


When done properly, feedback can be an extremely powerful tool for improving yourself, your team, and your organization.

Listen to the full episode to understand how to best give and receive feedback.




Be courageous and change your feedback habits.

The next time you’re preparing to give feedback, think about how you can make it meaningful, factual, and actionable. Give facts, examples, and context.


 Links mentioned in this episode:

Heather Mylan-Mains

Heather Mylan-Mains

President, BAs Without Borders

Heather Mylan-Mains is a speaker, blogger, thought leader, advocate, motivator, and teacher. As a business analyst, she is a professional ‘thinker’ with the ability to understand the problem, see the user perspectives, and ask the tough questions. In addition to speaking and training in the field of business analysis. Heather is also on the Board of Directors for the IIBA.


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