We all know providing constructive feedback is important.

But have you ever received constructive feedback that you just didn’t know what to do with?

One of the biggest frustrations that people express about constructive feedback they receive is that it’s just not actionable.

Feedback like:

  • Don’t quite have the gravitas.  
  • Not engaging enough.  
  • Not charismatic enough.  
  • Not dynamic.  
  • A little off putting.  
  • Not politically savvy.  
  • Don’t really have what it takes.  
  • Seem tentative. 
  • Come on too strong. 
  • Too aggressive. 
  • Don’t seem confident.

What’s the problem with this type of feedback?

It’s not actionable!

Meaning it’s not clear what the person can actually do about it to correct it.

It’s always about what the person is, but never about what exactly that person is doing.  

For example, one of your team members comes across as arrogant. But when providing effective feedback, telling them that they are arrogant is not helpful.

Instead what you want to communicate are the behaviors that the person exhibits that equal arrogance.  

For example:

  • This person might interrupt others frequently.
  • They might hold the floor too long not letting others express their points of view.
  • They might have nonverbal cues that are dismissive of other people (like making hand gestures or rolling their eyes).
  • They might speak with a tone that sounds condescending to some.

That’s what arrogance looks like behaviorally.

And now the individual can do something about your feedback if you can bring these points to their attention.

So the key is to focus on behaviors the person exhibits, rather than feelings or sense the person generates in others.

Not sure if what you want to communicate is actionable enough?

Test it: based on the feedback you are providing, would you know exactly what to do to improve?​​​​​​​