Generations of Feedback

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Generations of Feedback

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It may be a stereotype to assume that baby boomers believe millennials are over the top on their feedback needs. Workplace professionals representing earlier generations often suggest to me one problem the latest generations bring to the workplace is the expectation of frequent and continuous feedback. Granted, societal shifts which play a significant role in framing who is in what generation, do illustrate differences between the earliest generations still active in our workforce when compared with the latest generation just now entering our workforce.

Planning work

It seems reasonable though, especially if we are in a quest for generational neutrality, that feedback quality and quantity, and the need for it, is a commonality. Some argue that too much feedback, or feedback that is not kudos deflates and weakens performance by breaking down confidence. Feedback that breaks down confidence has not been delivered, or at least not received as, being meaningful and constructive.

Here are three golden rules for feedback across all generations:

  1. Well-managed feedback improves performance. Negative feedback means mismanaged feedback. Your goal should be to help the recipient succeed. Every generation needs well-managed feedback.
  2. Timing is critical. Feedback delivered too early or too late doesn’t have the most effective impact. Timeliness is not an issue of generation; it is an issue for discipline and commitment to positive performance improvement.
  3. The feedback process is not one way. Feedback is two-way communication and should reach across all generations as well as organizational levels.

Expectations often condition our perception of outcomes, and being more forthcoming with feedback, and doing it often, will likely result in stronger relationships. Keep in mind, though, that this feedback should be both congratulatory and performance improvement oriented, but never negative, or mismanaged.

Does your generation need feedback?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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