giving and receiving feedback

Setting Goals When Giving And Receiving Feedback

Feedback is a powerful tool that leaders can use when they need to change and influence employees’ behaviour. Ideally, a workplace should have an atmosphere where there is a high level of trust and honesty so that everyone feels confident to both speak up and give feedback and is also open to honest and constructive feedback. Unfortunately, not all feedback is taken positively and it is often rejected and taken negatively.

Even when you prepare carefully for a feedback conversation with the aim of ensuring that it will end successfully, unexpected and unplanned things happen that cause your feedback to be taken negatively or perceived as destructive feedback.

One of the things you can do as part of your preparations to help reduce unexpected and unplanned outcomes is to set goals when giving and receiving feedback. These goals should help you realise your primary objective of positively influencing your team or an individual.

When setting goals for your feedback conversation, it helps to know the difference between a stretch goal – a realistic, reasonable, achievable goal – and an unrealistic Bonnie Marcus in Forbes talks about the issue of unrealistic goals and unrealistic expectations causing negative outcomes.


Below are three steps to help you prevent unrealistic goals and unrealistic expectations when planning a feedback discussion:

  1. Determine if your goals pass the SMART goals test.

Your goals in giving and receiving feedback should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For example, you want to motivate your team to be able to improve how they communicate with the rest of the team. Make this more specific by identifying how the team can improve their communication. Give this goal a realistic and achievable timeframe, such as a month. Measure the success of your goal by the team’s output and productivity.

  1. Review your goals periodically and make adjustments or modifications as necessary.

Do not think that once your goal is set up, it will always be the same for every feedback conversation. Remember that every team member is unique and each feedback conversation will be different for each of your team member. Also, there will always be unforeseen circumstances or changes within the business that could affect whether or not the goal is still achievable and time frames may need to be adjusted.

  1. Dismiss poorly designed goals.

When reviewing goals, you don’t always have to make adjustments just to make the goal work. Keep in mind that you can always dismiss goals that were poorly designed and that no longer work for your team and start with a better designed goal.


In the workplace, giving and receiving feedback is important for the health of the team. It also helps business leaders build lasting relationships with their clients and customers. This is why it is important for a leader to establish an atmosphere in the workplace where every individual feels confident and comfortable in giving and receiving feedback. A key to having successful and productive feedback discussions is to ensure you are clear on the goals and expectations of the discussion. Ensure they are smart goals, review them and if circumstances change, you can dismiss poor goals and set new goals. This process will help you have more successful feedback discussions.


I am running a Difficult Conversations Workshop on the 1st of February if you want to learn more about preparing for conversations that you need to have.

Comments 2

  1. could you please send me details about the difficult conversations workshop

    I am interested in dates for the workshop on having difficult conversations. Please note corrected email below

    1. Post

      Sorry Amanda. Missed this response to the arrticle. Nothing planned in Bendigo or Echuca for the moment.

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