The Feedback Factor: Maximising Performance Potential

You can’t perform at your highest level without feedback. And you can’t expect your team to perform at their highest level without giving feedback.

In sport, we call feedback the food of champions.

When I was training, my team and I gave and received feedback all the time. On the water, I’d get stats from heart rate monitors and GPS while my coach called out technical instructions from the river bank. Even when I was off the water, there was a continuous stream of information telling me how I could adjust, adapt, and improve.

How often are you giving and receiving feedback?

Reasons to give feedback (regularly)

For the individual, feedback, whether motivational (this is what you’re doing well, keep doing it) or developmental (this is how you could improve) is invaluable.

It demonstrates that their contribution is valued and that what they do matters. When work is noticed by leaders and by the broader team it helps us to see where we fit in and how we add value. Nobody wants to spend their time doing work that goes unnoticed.

Let’s not forget the confidence-building properties of feedback. By highlighting strengths, what is being done well and should continue, the positive recognition boosts morale and motivation too, demonstrating that efforts are valued and appreciated.

All of this is also true of teams too. Plus there is the added benefit of creating a more agile team.

Fast feedback means we know now whether our work is on track and allows us to make adjustments as we go. If we wait to give feedback, we run the risk of large batches of work having to be redone, which is inefficient.

Fast feedback, prevents major delays down the line and is the difference between an exhausted and overworked team, and a thriving, agile, and resilient team.

How to give feedback

I hear a lot that one of the things that can hold us back from giving feedback is that we don’t know how to, that we are fearful of the response or of hurting someone’s feelings. Whilst it is commendable not to want to hurt feelings, you are doing your team a disservice if you don’t give feedback because you deny them the opportunity to improve.

I’ve also heard people say that they don’t have time to give feedback and it is easier just to correct or redo the work themselves. This is a recipe for disaster. Your workload increases and your colleague nevers knows what they’ve done wrong and how they can improve. Having a structure to the way you give feedback may help you to overcome some of your hesitations.

The importance of giving and receiving feedback to improve performance

The AID model is a really useful structure for giving feedback:

1️⃣ Action – keep this fact-based, as it is difficult for anyone to argue against, make it clear and don’t beat around the bush! Talk about what you saw – noticed – heard.

This sounds like ‘I noticed that…When you said xxx…What I heard was xxx…

2️⃣ Impact – describe the impact of the action or behaviour. This sounds like ‘It caused…It made me feel…The impact it has…’

This is often the piece that is missed but when we realise the effect of our behaviour/performance it can often be the motivation we need to change.

3️⃣ Do – talk about what could have been done differently or needs to change (which is developmental) or what they need to continue doing or do more of (which is motivational in nature).

This sounds like ‘I would encourage you to do that more often…What I would have liked to see is.’

Feedback can be tricky to get comfortable with but this model will help you to deliver feedback in a way that lands well and important messages get through and are understood.

Most importantly, show that you care – deliver clear feedback that is said with compassion and it will be well received.

How to receive feedback

The number one thing is – don’t take it personally. To do this, you have to try to separate any emotion you might feel about the feedback from the intent of the feedback. Developmental feedback isn’t a sign that you’ve let anyone down or that people disapprove of you.

Stay open to feedback and questions – they are an opportunity to improve your contribution to the team. And who doesn’t want to do better?

Finally, say thank you for the feedback, because after all, feedback is a gift.


We work with teams that want to improve their performance through giving feedback more effectively.

Contact us for a discussion.

Published: Tuesday 26 March 2024
Written by: Anna Hemmings MBE, OLY, High Performance & Leadership Coach