Why Is Feedback Important? Developing Stronger Relationships

For a company to develop and grow, feedback is essential. You can use a feedback model to describe and influence others’ behavior and skills, whether you supervise others or are simply trying to improve your communication skills. 

The importance of giving effective feedback must be balanced. In this article, we explore the different types of feedback models, understand what a feedback model is, and learn its benefits. 

With feedback models, you can communicate concisely, clearly, and specifically with others. They can help you connect with your team to discuss improvement areas and achieve department and company goals. 

Companies often use feedback models to support behavioral changes and reinforce positive behavior. In any industry, feedback is vital, so organizations can become more effective by implementing specific strategies.

Why Is Feedback Important?

Feedback is important for several reasons:


Feedback provides valuable information that helps individuals or organizations improve their performance.

It highlights strengths and identifies areas for development. By understanding what they are doing well and where they can make adjustments, they can refine their skills and enhance their performance.


Feedback plays a crucial role in the learning process. It helps individuals gain insights into their actions, behaviors, and outcomes.

Through feedback, they can identify what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to adjust their approach and acquire new knowledge or skills.


Constructive feedback can be highly motivating.

When individuals receive recognition for their achievements or guidance on how to improve, it instills a sense of accomplishment and encourages them to strive for further success.

Positive feedback boosts morale and inspires individuals to continue their efforts.


Feedback provides an external perspective that individuals may not see themselves. It offers insights into blind spots or areas of improvement that they may not have considered.

By understanding how others perceive them, individuals can develop a better sense of self-awareness and work on enhancing their strengths or addressing their weaknesses.

Communication and collaboration

Feedback is essential for effective communication and collaboration within teams or organizations.

It facilitates open and honest discussions, enabling individuals to express their thoughts, share ideas, and provide input.

Constructive feedback helps build trust, fosters teamwork, and promotes a culture of continuous improvement.

Goal alignment

Feedback helps align individual goals with organizational objectives. By providing feedback on progress and performance, organizations can ensure that individuals are working towards common goals and objectives.

It allows for course correction, realignment, and adjustment of strategies to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction.

Customer satisfaction

Feedback from customers or clients is invaluable for businesses. It provides insights into their needs, preferences, and satisfaction levels.

By actively seeking and incorporating customer feedback, businesses can tailor their products, services, and experiences to better meet customer expectations, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The Benefits Of Using Feedback Models

  • Using a feedback model can simplify the feedback process if you know what you want to say but aren’t sure how to say it. Here are some specific advantages:
  • Giving actionable, helpful feedback can be made easier with feedback models.
  • Confidence: Positive feedback and encouragement can encourage employees to act on their ideas.
  • The structure of feedback models can make employee meetings more effective and transparent.

Feedback Types: Understanding the Differences

People prefer to avoid hearing what they’re doing wrong, and often the words can be challenging to understand. Feedback is a necessary evil.

And giving feedback can be challenging too. But as a leader or coach, it’s your job to provide effective feedback. Constructive suggestions can help your colleagues and direct reports succeed.

Are you formulaic and by the book, or do you wing it? Do you prefer straight talk, or do you dance around issues? Do you take a clinical approach, or are you personally involved?

Performance reviews are less than satisfying events for you and your direct reports, regardless of your style or your company’s system. When you learn to give effective feedback, you can avoid meaningless (or disastrous) reviews and have constructive conversations instead.

An employee’s feedback is one of the essential elements of a successful performance review since it engages them in the discussion and emphasizes the most critical points.

Giving feedback will feel more accessible if you understand the four types of input and which is most effective.

Feedback Types

All feedback can be classified into one of four types:

1. The directive

2. Continuity

3. Credits

4. The impact

Even if you phrase it “nicely,” directive feedback tells someone what to do. For example, “I suggest you make clearer your team’s priorities.”

Contingent feedback gives a future consequence: “If you interrupt people in meetings, they’ll stop cooperating with you.”

As in “You’re a good communicator” or “You’re undisciplined,” attribution feedback describes someone or their actions regarding quality or label.

The receiver receives impact feedback when they learn how their actions have affected others or the organization. Your direct report can learn something from impact feedback in a performance review they didn’t know or think about before. Impact feedback explains why their behaviors work or don’t work. For example: “Team members were confused, and I felt frustrated.”

Using all four types of feedback at the right time and for the right reasons will help you be more effective. Practice will make you better.

The Most Effective Type of Feedback Is Impact Feedback

The way someone feels about or reacts to feedback is beyond your control. The same situation can be viewed differently by different people. It is impossible to make someone like or agree with what you say, but you can make your feedback more likely to be accepted.

It is more likely that the recipient will take feedback well if it isn’t authoritative. The message will be lost if the feedback giver appears to be leveraging positional power, dominating, arrogant, or self-centered. In the case of feedback, the recipient is likely to be defensive or argumentative — or to accept what you say passively but later resent it and act in counterproductive ways.

The most effective feedback is impact feedback since it informs a person about the results of their behavior without assuming motivation, dissecting details, or placing blame. Make feedback a two-way discussion using our widely-recognized Situation-Behavior-Impact model to explore intentions.

Feedback isn’t authoritative – you’re not telling someone what to do, setting consequences, or judging them. Instead, feedback informs the receiver, empowers them, and increases their chances of accepting it.

You can use impact feedback to start a conversation and set the stage for more authoritative input if necessary.

Those who realize the impact of their behavior are more open to authoritarian aspects of authoritative feedback.

Give Feedback Correctly by Avoiding These 10 Common Mistakes

Whenever you give feedback to others, avoid these ten common blunders. And if you’ve made them before, don’t beat yourself up. Just avoid them in the future.

1. Feedback judges individuals, not actions.

Feedback expressed in judgmental terms puts people on the defensive. You send the message that you know what’s right and wrong.

2. There needs to be more vagueness in the feedback.

If you want someone to repeat productive behavior, you need to tell them what they did so they can continue it. Avoid generalized, cliché catchphrases.

3. Other people’s feedback speaks for itself.

Adding a third party’s name to the mix only confuses the recipient, who wonders why others are talking about them behind their back.

4. Positive feedback is sandwiched between negative feedback.

Positive comments seem like an excellent way to neutralize negative comments, but recipients can read between the lines.

5. Generalizations are exaggerated in the feedback.

The words “always” and “never” put people on the defensive because there is always that one time…

6. Feedback helps psychoanalyze behavior’s motives.

It could be a divorce, resentment over a co-worker’s advancement, or burnout, but whatever you think you know about someone’s intent and motive is probably wrong.

7. There needs to be more feedback.

It’s important to know when to stop. People need time to process the information they’ve been given.

8. There is an implied threat in the feedback.

The act of threatening someone’s job does not reinforce good behavior or illustrate lousy behavior. It only creates hatred.

9. Inappropriate humor is used in the feedback.

Sarcasm can be used as to substitute for feedback, especially if you’re uncomfortable giving it. Keep your snide remarks to yourself.

10. Feedback is a question, not a statement.

Feedback should not be framed as a question. It may even be interpreted as sarcastic. Really?

Models of feedback

The following are some types of feedback models:

Sandwich feedback model

This feedback tool highlights achievements and areas for improvement so that the employee can adjust accordingly.

After mentioning areas for improvement, you can end with more appreciative words. In the sandwich feedback model, the discussion begins with positive comments, followed by spaces for improvement.

The term “sandwich method” comes from how you pack improvement areas, like toppings on a sandwich, in between positive feedback, like slices of bread. Its main objective is to make the feedback meeting a positive employee experience.

Employees can be more open-minded during a session and ultimately leave feeling good using this method.

Model for SBI feedback

Employees can use the SBI (situation, behavior, impact) feedback tool to take a fresh look at a situation and brainstorm ways to improve it. Here is an overview of each component of the SBI feedback tool so you can provide effective on-the-spot feedback.

To clarify the context, you specify the situation you are referring to.

You discuss the specific behavior you want to change.

Explain the impact of the employee’s behavior on you, the team, and the organization.

Model of STAR feedback

Through the STAR feedback model, you can provide relevant and actionable feedback by focusing on the situation, the action, and the results. This feedback model can be a great way to describe a series of events in a way that resonates with the employee. Here’s a closer look at each part of the STAR feedback model:

You should describe the employee’s situation or task as precisely as possible. Instead of writing, “You did a fantastic job…,” you can say something like, “Our monthly sales figures decreased,” or “We had a client complain about poor service.”

Next, describe the employee’s action. Rather than using phrases like “messed up” or “sorted it out,” be as specific as possible and include details like “didn’t manage to make more sales” or “calmed the client down by listening and offering a discount.”

Describe the direct results of your action and explain why the action is effective. For example, “Having calmed the client down, she still made the sale.”.

Model of feedback developed by Pendleton

Employees are encouraged to participate in the review process with Pendleton’s feedback model. The Pendleton feedback model emphasizes positive behaviors, reinforces these behaviors, discusses the skills needed to achieve these behaviors, and discusses what could have been done differently. Follow these steps to apply the model:

  • Make sure the employee wants or is ready for feedback.
  • Allow the employee to explain the situation or behavior you observed.
  • Find out what went well with the employee.
  • Based on your observations, describe what went well.
  • What can the employee do to improve?
  • Based on your observations, describe how they could improve.
  • An improvement plan should be agreed upon.

As a result of Pendleton’s feedback model, employees can be more receptive by letting them begin each section and guide the conversation.

In addition to helping the employee feel heard, this feedback model can motivate them to improve their behavior and make them more involved.

Model of feedback for DESC

You can use the DESC (describe, express, specify, consequences) feedback model to communicate to employees what you expect them to do less, more, or differently to improve their performance. Usually, it could be more conversational but can clearly explain a problem and motivate quick behavior change. To use the DESC feedback model, follow these steps:

Describe what you have observed briefly.

Next, express objectively how their actions affected you and the company.

Explain what you would like the employee to do differently next time.

What are the consequences of this behavior change?

Model for IDEA feedback

The IDEA feedback model (identity, describe, encourage, and act) is a simple, easy-to-remember framework for preparing for and managing potentially tough conversations.

You must provide specific feedback so the employee understands exactly what you expect them to do differently. Describe the particular problem they need to address, such as how they greet customers or how long it takes to respond to clients, and clarify what you expect from them.

Explain the importance of changing the employee’s behavior and its impact. The potential effects on other employees who have to carry a heavier workload, the impact on revenue and expenses, or the development of customer service.

If the person knows that you’re encouraging them instead of judging them, this can boost their trust, motivation, and commitment to positive behavior.

Identify a plan for action by setting a date for upcoming meetings, establishing a review period, or providing training, coaching, or other assistance. The next time you meet with the employee, you can determine objective indicators for assessing feedback implementation by defining specific, measurable steps.

Model of CEDAR feedback

This feedback model is unique because it encourages employees to take the lead in discussing their performance rather than simply receiving orders from management. It includes five stages:

Ensure the employee you’re talking to understands the importance of feedback on their work. Employees will respond more positively to feedback if they know how it fits their performance.

Be specific and clear when you describe the employee’s performance. Acknowledge successes so that you can express your praise. However, let the employee identify more complex examples.

You can provide this insight by asking open-ended questions like, “What led you to where you are now?” Instead of passing judgment, help the employee figure out why they are where they are.

Setting goals and developing a plan of action is an excellent way to apply what you’ve learned from the previous steps. Maintain the collaborative tone by helping the employee identify these actions and goals. You can ask questions such as “What steps do you need to take to achieve it?” and “What results are you looking for?”

Plan a review schedule with the employee. This can help you track progress, resolve problems, and celebrate accomplishments.

Key Takeaways

  • Feedback helps individuals and organizations identify their strengths and weaknesses and make necessary improvements.
  • Feedback promotes communication, learning, and growth and can be a powerful personal and professional development tool.
  • Effective feedback is specific, timely, and constructive and is based on observable facts rather than assumptions.
  • Giving and receiving feedback requires openness and a willingness to learn and improve.
  • Feedback can be delivered in various ways, including face-to-face conversations, written reports, and online tools.
  • To create a culture of feedback, organizations should encourage and reward feedback, provide training for employees, and lead by example.
  • Regular feedback can help to build stronger relationships, improve performance, and achieve better results.


The proper use of feedback can empower employees to continue doing great work, motivate them to make positive changes, and even drive better performance outcomes for their teams and the company.

You’ll have seen what great feedback can look like when structured using a feedback model. However, what’s important to remember is that feedback should not just happen once a year, regardless of the model your managers choose. It should be part of continuous performance discussions.

As a result, giving feedback should become a habit. To accomplish this, we combine experiential coaching with digital coaching. Managers and the teams they lead provide regular and constructive feedback, and we use nudges to ensure that it happens.


How does feedback promote growth?

Feedback promotes growth by providing individuals and groups with specific information about their performance or behavior, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes.

It also encourages reflection, self-awareness, and continuous learning.

What are the benefits of giving and receiving feedback?

Giving and receiving feedback promotes effective communication, fosters mutual understanding, and strengthens relationships.

It also enhances personal and professional growth, helps to identify blind spots, and encourages constructive criticism.

How can feedback be given and received effectively?

Feedback can be given and received effectively by being specific, timely, and constructive.

It should also be based on observable facts rather than assumptions and delivered respectfully and empathetically. Additionally, individuals should be open-minded and willing to accept feedback without becoming defensive.

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