Smash your feedback conversation

Chaya Mistry
6 min readDec 10, 2020

My boss marched into the office, glancing straight at me and set her things down, all except one notebook and a pen. “Chaya, have you got a few minutes?” I could feel a heat in my chest and at the same time a drop in my stomach. Adrenaline and cortisol pumping through my system, oh I was about to get some feedback!

Whether you are the person giving the feedback, or the person receiving it, feedback makes us uncomfortable. Even when, like in this case, it is good news, we still can’t help but think the worst. Our brains are alerted to a potential threat. The request alone “Can I give you some feedback?” feels like a threat before we even know what the feedback is.

The first time I was giving a workshop on feedback I mis-spelt the word ‘Threat’ as ‘Treat’ but I think that might be the mindset shift we need.
When we see feedback as a treat, an honour to receive and ignite our curiosity to know what the other person can see that we can’t, then we can be more open to the learning opportunity in front of us.

Many people feel discomfort in both giving receiving feedback. So how do you start to change that?
How do you build a culture where the pain of ‘the feedback conversation’ is replaced with motivation, courage and the curiosity it takes to develop people, to innovate and grow.

Start asking for feedback more. People have perceptions and assumptions of you already. So unless you ask, you may never find out what they are. Or worse, they might be acting on those perceptions without giving you a chance to clarify or offer your perspective. Think about…Who are the people you feel comfortable asking for feedback? And who do you worry about asking? Why is that?

Pull instead of push. The discomfort of giving and receiving feedback often happens when people are spending their time and energy…

Chaya Mistry

Director and Founder of Humanly. A communication coach & consultant helping people and organisations communicate humanly with clarity, curiosity and connection