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Journal Article

Actionable Feedback: Unlocking the Power of Learning and Performance Improvement

Mark D. Cannon and Robert Witherspoon
The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005)
Vol. 19, No. 2 (May, 2005), pp. 120-134
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4166182
Page Count: 15
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Actionable Feedback: Unlocking the Power of Learning and Performance Improvement
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Abstract

Delivering critical feedback can be brutal for everyone involved. Most managers hate giving critical feedback, and most employees detest receiving it. In addition, critical feedback often fails to produce the desired results. We describe how cognitive and emotional dynamics--how we think and feel while giving and receiving feedback--can complicate this process, making it more painful and less useful than it should be. These dynamics often interfere with the ability of recipients to process and respond constructively to feedback. They also interfere with the ability of feedback givers to formulate and deliver feedback that is high quality and does not produce defensiveness. Further complicating matters, both feedback givers and receivers have a difficult time recognizing how their own cognitive and emotional dynamics are hindering their effectiveness in the feedback process. We illustrate how these dynamics hamper the feedback giving and receiving process and how understanding them can help managers produce more actionable feedback on performance (feedback that leads to learning and appropriate results).

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