The Art of Feedback - Truth + Love = GRACE


The Art of Giving Feedback – Truth + Love = GRACE

“Getting people to welcome feedback was the hardest thing I ever had to do as an educator.” ― Professor Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Everything is connected today. We need to collaborate with others to succeed in our relationships, life and work. For that, we need to develop the art of giving —and receiving —feedback and critiques.

In its original sense, feedback is the exchange of information about how one part of a system is working, with the understanding that it affects everyone else within the system. If any part veers off course, prompt remediation is critical.

Feedback is every organization’s lifeblood — the mechanism that lets people know whether they’re doing a good job or if their efforts need to be fine-tuned, upgraded or entirely redirected. In a marriage, feedback determines whether each partner can adapt to the needs of the individual, couple and family.

Most people, however, are uncomfortable when giving or receiving feedback. I hear this from many of my clients who come in for coaching ( It’s one of the most important tasks to master, but we procrastinate and try to avoid it altogether.

Without feedback, people remain in the dark. They have no idea how they stand with the boss, their peers or their spouse regarding what’s expected of them. Problems invariably worsen over time, so we need to use feedback to find solutions that help us adapt and adjust.

In the world of Christian faith feedback is God’s invitation to speaking the truth with love. This is grace. This is the greatest gift a leader can give those he/she leads. It is important to understand that both ingredients are necessary - truth with love for grace to unfold. Leaders who are direct with those they lead change lives for the better. For many leaders they fear truth. They falsely believe that all love and no truth will bring the desired result. The result is no grace. No growth.

In the marketplace the in-balance falls on the truth side of the equation.  We find a lack of or very little love. Often managers think love in the workplace is wrong. Managers hammer people with truth and once again there is no grace. There is no growth. In a study of 108 managers and white-collar workers, researchers found that most conflicts were caused by inept criticism (ahead of mistrust, personality struggles, and disputes over power and pay). After harsh criticism, people refuse to collaborate or cooperate, leading to stonewalling and disengagement.

If you unravel their histories, disengaged people usually don't start off that way. At the core of their problems you'll often find a hurtful encounter, usually delivered as inept feedback.

In the coming weeks I will look at positive and negative feedback and then review some tips on how to give feedback.

Before that I want to share with you Psalm 25: 1-12 as a feedback prayer. Take a look!

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right; and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who are they that fear the Lord? He will teach them the way that they should choose. (Psalm 25:1-12)

What do you think about this? I'd love to hear from you.