Skip to main content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Giving and Receiving Feedback (S.5, Ep.9)

February 29

Subscribe Now

Subscribe to the “Practicing Connection” monthly email to keep up to date on our latest podcasts, blog posts and workshops.

Join the “Practicing Connection Community” on LinkedIn. The community is designed for people who support military families in a variety of settings both on installations and in our communities.


About This Episode

Discover the transformative power of feedback. Hosts Bob Bertsch and Jessica Beckendorf explore the nuances of giving and receiving feedback, emphasizing its role in personal and professional growth. Jessica shares a practical readiness checklist, offering valuable insights for enhancing feedback practices.



Read More


Bob: When done well, feedback can energize, engage, and positively motivate both the giver and the receiver. It’s an act of gratitude and vulnerability. Hi everyone. This is Bob. Welcome to this week’s Practicing Connection practicast, where we highlight a specific practice you can use in your personal and professional growth.

This week’s practice is focused on giving and receiving feedback. My Practicing Connection co-host, Jessica Beckendorf, is going to be guiding us through a practice in a few minutes, but first, let’s talk more about this giving and receiving feedback. Hi, Jessica. I’d like to know why you think we need practice giving and receiving feedback.

Jessica: Giving and receiving feedback can be really difficult because it involves vulnerability. Researcher Brené Brown has been quoted as saying that, “Feedback should be as vulnerable for the person giving it as it is for the person receiving it.” I think that’s a really interesting way to think about it because when you are going to be giving feedback, you often have been thinking about it for a long time, right? Sometimes the person who’s receiving the feedback is sort of getting a little blindsided.

When you have this in mind, this idea that the feedback should be as vulnerable for the person giving it as it is for the person receiving it, I think it puts you in the right headspace for giving the feedback. When you give feedback, you are communicating what you value and any boundaries associated with that value or those values. That’s why it is also vulnerable for the person giving feedback. It’s one of the reasons why.

Likewise, of course, the person receiving feedback is in a vulnerable position. I think it’s really common, I’ve been guilty of this to sugarcoat or even skip feedback for a lot of reasons. It feels difficult. We assume that what we want to say, even if our heart is in the best place and we really want to see this person grow, and that’s why we have the feedback, but we’re afraid that they’re going to receive it as criticism. Maybe we like the person and we’re afraid the feedback will hurt their feelings.

We might resist or avoid getting feedback because it can feel like straight up criticism, or it can be triggering for us, or because we have maybe a fear of failure or a fear of letting people down, or because it can touch on some deeper stories that we tell ourselves about who we are and our worth in society. Because we need healthy relationships to live and work in this world, getting better at giving and receiving feedback is a really crucial skill to develop, I think.

Bob: You alluded to this hurting people’s feelings. I’m wondering how we can keep our feedback from doing that, from becoming personal or from, on the other side of it, taking our feedback personally.

Jessica: Yes, there’s so much here. I’ll bring Brené Brown’s work into this conversation again because I think that a crucial first step is one that she suggests in her book, Dare to Lead. We need to have a certain level of readiness before we engage in giving feedback. Being able to talk about the issue from our values and from our integrity is key here. Don’t rush into it.

Keep the feedback focused on the actions or behavior and how it has affected you, versus a flaw or weakness that you perceive the other person has. Then as far as receiving feedback goes, Brené Brown has some good advice here also. One of those pieces of advice is to have a bit of helpful self-talk that you can use to help you in the moment. She likes to structure hers around a strength that she has, so she’ll say something like, “I’m brave enough to listen.” Courage is one of her values, I should say, not strength. It’s probably a strength of hers as well.

Mine is, let’s find what I can yes and in what’s being said to me, staying present and practicing reflecting back what you’re hearing. I think a lot of times our brains are going haywire when we’re getting feedback and they’re like, “Run away, run away, run away.” Try to stay present. Avoid being defensive, which can be really, really hard. You want to defend yourself. Maybe you disagree with what’s being said to you.

I advise you to just refrain from that and maybe at the end you can say, “Hey, I need a moment to think about this. I’m going to get back to you and let’s pick up the conversation another time.” That said, you can also give yourself permission to take a break. I know that in not all situations do you feel like you have the power to do that. You can in a lot of situations acknowledge that, “Wow, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I could use a little bit of time here to just absorb it and get back to you. I would definitely like to pick up the conversation again to talk through it.”

Within the topic of giving and receiving feedback, I think a lot of attention is placed on when we have some negative or constructive feedback that we need to deliver. I think it’s equally important for a person’s growth for us to learn to give and receive positive feedback. I used to have a really hard time with positive feedback and once in a while I still do. I’ve learned to just say thank you. Sometimes internally I’m like, “Oh, do I actually deserve that feedback?”

I have a hard time like giving feedback. It’s not that it’s hard for me to say the words, it’s that I’m not always noticing when I might need to say them, or I’m not always noticing the things that I should be giving positive feedback for. It’s sometimes harder for us to notice the good things because we’re so wired to just notice when something isn’t going right. Nobody has time for anything else. We just wait till something goes wrong and then we’re like, “Oh, whose fault is it?” We can train ourselves to notice the good things.

Strength spotting, which we’ve talked about on this podcast before is one way that we can provide and practice positive feedback, and sharing our gratitude for someone’s contributions is another way. Thinking about what are we grateful? Think about that person, what am I grateful for about this person’s contributions and then go tell them. [laughs]

Bob: That’s really great advice. Thanks for that, Jessica. I think when we think about giving or receiving feedback, the picture that we get in our head is a supervisor-employee relationship or a manager-employee relationship. I’m wondering how giving and receiving feedback works in situations where there isn’t necessarily a hierarchy, like in a team situation or a collaborative situation.

Jessica: Yes, I really love this question because I think you’re right. The default that we think about is the supervisor-employee scenario where there’s a different power differential. I think in a situation like a team or collaborative effort, feedback can be built into your group culture, and it can be built into your supervisor-employee relationship as well.

Since you asked about teams or collaborations, I think there’s some specific things you can do like establishing group principles that are focused on open, high trust relationship building, and having some norms around how you bring new people into a group so that they can get accustomed to those group principles. I think even building feedback directly into regular processes like your meeting agendas, you could leave space for regular kudos, or you could leave space regularly to discuss what’s working well and what isn’t working as well.

Again, I recommend keeping the feedback focused on processes and actions, not on individuals and who’s pulling their weight more than others. Not that anyone speaks directly like that, but the way we talk about and the way we give feedback and the way we talk about it, it can damage relationships. The beauty here in the situation of a team or collaboration is that the group can decide together how you’ll work together and handle feedback and conflicts. You guys can also hold each other accountable for that.

The more you open conversation you have about things like how we’ll do feedback in this group, the better your group will be. Frankly, I think it’ll build the individual skills as well for people to go back to other situations in their lives and be able to give feedback and receive feedback better as well.

Bob: All right. You have some advice and a practice to walk us through, and I’d love to hear more about how I can start doing this better, honestly.

Jessica: I hope this helps. The practice I have today for giving constructive feedback is actually a readiness checklist from Brené Brown. Today is a Brené Brown day for our podcast. You can download it, the checklist from the Dare to Lead website. We’ll put the link in the show notes for you.

You can use this checklist anytime before you’re going to give feedback. Each question’s a series of 10 questions. Each question is a simple yes, no. Well, simple is maybe going to be up to you to decide. For the purpose of this practicast, I think it’d be really good as you’re listening right now to think about a situation for which you need to provide feedback to a person. If you’re not in a situation like that right now, think about a situation from the past where you needed to give feedback. As I go through this list, I want you to notice if you answered no to any of the questions. Ask yourself why and what you need in order to make that answer a yes. The first question, I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you. I’m ready to give feedback when I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us. This is the difference between blaming someone and focusing on the fact that something needs to change instead.

I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue. I think that last part is really key; accept that I may not fully understand the issue. I think we really want to make our guesses and put people in boxes. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m ready to acknowledge what you do well instead of just picking apart your mistakes. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges.

I know I’m ready to give feedback when I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming you. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I’m open to owning my part. I want to acknowledge that that’s another hard one, I think. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I can genuinely thank someone for efforts rather than just criticizing them for their failings.

I know I’m ready to give feedback when I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to growth and opportunity. I know I’m ready to give feedback when I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you. These are all, I think, really helpful to slow yourself down to.

If we’re in a situation where we need to give some constructive feedback, I think sometimes we’re ready to rush in and just point out all the things that we need changed. This will help slow down, help you slow down just a little bit, think through it and help you become better at giving feedback. I just wanted to point out one more time, for learning to notice and share positive feedback, I recommend strength spotting from our Listening for Strengths and Values episode, season five, episode two.

Bob: Yes. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes for this episode as well. Thanks so much for guiding us through that, Jessica.

Jessica: You’re so welcome. This is a topic that I think is really hard for most of us. The more we can help people in this area, I think the better all of our relationships will be.

Bob: That’s it for this episode. Thanks for joining us. We hope you’ll give this practice a try, and share your experience in the Practicing Connection LinkedIn group where people supporting military families practice the skills that empower us to work together so that we can positively impact our communities and help families thrive. You’ll find the link to the group on our website at

Next week, we’ll be back with an in-depth episode. We’ll be discussing Share the Work and Love, one of the eight ways of cultivating community resilience that we identified in our Connecting Communities in Asset-Based Community Recovery project. Until then, keep practicing.

Speaker: The Practicing Connection podcast is a production of OneOp, and is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, US Department of Defense under award numbers 2019-48770-30366 and 2023-48770-41333.


[00:14:29] [END OF AUDIO]


February 29
Event Category:
Event Tags:

How To Join

Complete the registration form with your name, email address, and how you learned about this webinar. You should receive a confirmation email shortly after with the connection information. Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions or need technical support.

If you are unable to join the webinar via Zoom, please view the live-streamed webinar at

More Info

Practicing Connection Podcast