A practical and irreverent guide to taking the sting out of feedback and reclaiming it as a motivating, empowering experience for everyone involved.
Feedback: the mere mention of the word can make our blood pressure rise and our defenses go up. For many of us, it's a dirty word that we associate with bias, politics, resentment, and self-doubt. However, if we take a step back and think about its true intent, we realize that feedback needn't be a bad thing. After all, understanding how others experience us provides valuable opportunities to learn and grow.
Authors M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Grealish explain how feedback got such a bad rap and how to recognize and minimize the negative physical and emotional responses that can erode trust and shut down communication. They offer a new and more ambitious definition of feedback, explore the roles we each play as Seeker, Extender, and Receiver, and introduce the three Fs of making feedback focused, fair, and frequent. You'll also find valuable exercises and strategies, along with real-world examples that illustrate how you can put these ideas into action and join in the movement to fix feedback, once and for all.
When it's done right, feedback has been proven to be the most effective means of improving communication and performance for you and your organization. It's too important to give up, and with Chandler and Grealish's help, you'll be able to use it deftly, equitably, and effectively.
“Looking for a way to grow a healthy, growth-minded, and collaborative culture? Read this book!”
—Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and the only two-time #1 Leadership Thinker in the World
“My feedback on this book on feedback is simple: it is an exceptional book. It goes beyond feedback as a gift to opening this gift and offering realistic, useful, and simple tips so that feedback happens. And it inspires leaders to make feedback a reality.”
—Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner, The RBL Group
“Feedback (and other Dirty Words) cuts straight to the chase on what you need to do to revolutionize feedback in your organization. If we all approached feedback in this way, business (and the world at large!) would indeed be a better place.”
—Kathy O’Driscoll, Vice President of People, Snowflake Computing Inc.
“This is the best book on feedback I’ve ever read! It brings practical, actionable ideas together with an enlightened perspective on work and people—and it does so in a way that embraces the talented, well-intentioned, but struggling reader. I know those struggles as feedback has been focal to my work as a manager, consultant, and writer. I’ve thought about it, taught about it, sought it, avoided it, and given it. I’ve failed and succeeded often. Feedback is essential to my life—and yours. Follow this author’s guidance to enrich your relationships at work and deepen your appreciation of those around you.”
—Geoff Bellman, Principal, Extraordinary Teams Partnership, bestselling author, and management consulting leader
“Like it or probably not, people don’t grow without feedback. Can you deliver feedback without closing people down? Chandler and Grealish give the tools and methods for making feedback feel good. Not only will Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) help you with your next performance conversation, it can transform your company culture to be more agile and enjoyable. “
—Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, Past President, International Coach Federation, and author of The Discomfort Zone
“This quick read highlights real benefits that can follow strong feedback practices while simultaneously helping to remove the stigma associated with giving and receiving feedback—important topics for leaders.”
—Roy Bivens, author of Experiencing Improvement; Managing Partner, Orion Advisory; and CEO, Diamond Orthopedic
“What do successful leaders and organizations have in common? A culture where feedback is welcomed and not feared and trust sits at the center. Feedback (and other Dirty Words) shows you how to get there. Both witty and enlightening! Read this…you’ll be entertained as much as you are informed.”
—Christopher J. Cowan, MEd, FABC, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Christiana Care Health System
“At last! A concise, practical, actionable contribution to the sticky topic of feedback. In this breakthrough book, M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Grealish offer many layers of useful information and support regarding changing our existing paradigms around feedback. This book details simple and powerful methods backed by science. We learn to seek, receive, and offer feedback in a skillful and direct manner. The book includes everyday examples that the reader can relate to for in-the-moment learning and application. The authors’ wealth of experience shows up in this digestible toolbox. They make a compelling case for shifting how we all approach feedback, while breaking the process into manageable chunks that can shift not only performance but the development of people and organizational culture.”
—Beatrice W. Hansen, MSSW, PCC, Principal, Presence-Based Coaching
“This very useful book teaches us that feedback is the key to all activities where we interact with others, especially at work. The lessons here show us how to do it simply and well.”
—Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director, Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School, and Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania
“There is no leadership practice more effective than well done feedback to drive high performance through people. It is the equivalent of a leader superpower. Yet very few have mastered it. How could this power shortage be so severe and stubbornly stuck? What will it take to fix it? Read this clever and awesomely helpful book that digs deep to find the science and reasons behind this power failure, to fully appreciate the proven impact of good feedback, and, importantly, to find many useful and practical strategies and tactics for making your own feedback power super.”
—Jeannie Coyle, former Senior Vice President of Human Resources, American Express, and coauthor of Make Talent Your Business
“A very readable people-focused rallying cry to fix the culture of feedback found in many organizations. Inside you’ll find practical advice, research, and stories that gently push the reader to crave and seek (instead of avoid!) feedback.”
—Luke Timmins, Head of Engineering, Bungie
“An enjoyable and compelling read, this books shows leaders how to set the tone for the growth mindset to flourish. Packed with tips, it shows readers an easier path to hearing how they are doing, sharing what they see in others, and inspiring everyone to thrive.”
—Elizabeth Hall, Vice President, Employee Experience, Cambia Health Solutions
“Feedback can be tough to give (and receive!) but is so core to how we drive performance and improve as humans. This book offers practical frameworks and tools to consider as you leverage feedback to build relationships and improve results!”
—Jesse Schlueter, Vice President of Learning and Leadership, Nordstrom
“Thoughtful feedback is both a gift and a critical data point along anyone’s journey to their own integrity — and the integrity of any organization. If you want to unleash a powerful and priceless resource, immerse yourself in this book and all that it teaches.”
—John G. Blumberg, Author of Return On Integrity: The Individual’s Journey to the One Essential Thing
About the Authors:
M. Tamra Chandler is the CEO and cofounder of PeopleFirm, a talent management and organizational performance consultancy that has earned consistent recognition as a top place to work. She has been named twice as one of the top twenty-five consultants in the United States by Consulting magazine. She holds an MBA from the University of Washington.
Laura Dowling Grealish is a management consultant at PeopleFirm and was previously the director of consulting services at Orion Advisor Services. She holds an MBA from Pacific Lutheran University.