What is Feedback? Learn to Boost Motivation

September 10, 2018

Feedback is more than the information that comes from others about how we’re doing our work. Its purpose is (or should be) to provide positive ways to improve. It should give us specific data to boost our motivation. This art, this skill, is indispensable in all areas: education, work, relationships, etc.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

-Bill Gates-

Feedback is information and motivation. It’s energy and it’s communication. It’s the desire to improve and learn more. Feedback is the authentic desire to offer strategies to another person to improve their skills. We can’t, therefore, deny that there’s something truly magnificent in this world. That magnificent thing is the essence of human development and the motivation we get from the people we work with.

Feedback icons.

Feedback: The art of assertiveness

Experts in motivational psychology know that there’s nothing more frightening than receiving bad feedback. The effects of poor remarks or incomplete and unhelpful comments can be disastrous. We know how things go in a classroom when the teacher is unprepared. Employees with an ineffective leader know this all too well. We know this ourselves from our own relationships.

Designate someone to collect information about another person. These persons must issue it in a way so that the recipient receives it with positivity and inspiration.

Let’s see more data below to better understand this concept.

What is feedback?

  • Feedback is a communicational phenomenon.
  • The issuer provides an objective opinion to a receiver about their performance with specific evidence.
  • Feedback shouldn’t be limited to reporting. The purpose is to promote progress and it should be positive to inspire motivation.
  • It’s better to point out errors, weaknesses, and strengths.
  • Focus on progress, always offering tools or advice that can help them improve.
  • The central idea is this: Point out what a person does well and then point out how they can improve that skill even more. 
  • Communication must always be assertive, respectful, and empathetic.
Woman receiving positive feedback.

Other ideas on feedback

  • Feedback shouldn’t only show the person what they’ve done wrong.
  • If we just correct or identify the failure, the person is left with a negative impression. In this case, only two things can happen: the person who received the feedback is blocked or refuses to listen. In either option, the result is the same. There’s no progress.
  • On the other hand, positive reinforcement isn’t synonymous with feedback. Telling a child that they’re doing well without adding new information doesn’t let them reach the proximal development Vygotsky speaks of.
  • If we share some ways they can improve while also encouraging self-confidence, we enhance others’ potential and capacity.

How can we give good feedback?

Good feedback must achieve something essential: an advance, a progress, and an improvement. Achieving this with our students, children, and relationships requires appropriate strategies. Let’s see what they are.

  • It’s a good idea to accumulate concrete evidence of what we’re going to communicate. It’s not worth repeating “You’re doing this well or you’re doing that wrong”. Be rigorous and exact in what you want to highlight.
  • Take into account your state of mind when giving feedback. The objective is to motivate and correct people in a positive manner. Therefore, if we’re having a bad day, it’s better to wait for another moment.
  • When giving feedback, the “sandwich” strategy is very useful. First, highlight something good about the person. Then, point out what they could work on. Finally, offer improvement strategies.
  • Also, it’s important to remember that there’s a series of words that are prohibited when offering feedback. These words are always, never, and but. These terms aren’t useful and can create discomfort or contradiction.
  • Be very specific, direct, and assertive.
two brains with birds

In conclusion, we’re sure that you can think of a situation where someone gave you good or bad feedback. This skill, although it’s used in the business world, actually nurtures infinite social scenarios. We should feel empowered to allow others to learn or open up to new points of view. Giving feedback is something we should all feel we can do effectively.