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The Tyranny of Indirect Feedback with Lisa Manyoky

November 1, 2014

Is Indirect Feedback used in your organization?

Do you prefer this model when dealing with sensitive issues?

The model of indirect feedback is one of the feedback models that I have been asked to use throughout my career.  Some executives actually prefer indirect feedback for performance reviews and encourage others to give feedback about employees directly to the supervisor. 

Today’s show is all about exploring the tyranny of indirect feedback as it is EXCLUSIONARY by design.  

The process of growing from DIVERSITY to INCLUSION is one of the most difficult leadership challenges our organizations face.  The reason for this is because growing from diversity to inclusion means we have to look carefully at our systems and actions.  This may mean we have to accept that some of our practices are flawed and need to be carefully redesigned.  

One of these practices is most definitely Indirect Feedback

Joining me this week is Lisa Manyoky, an executive coach with years of experience with organizations of all sizes, to explore the pros and cons of indirect feedback and two other models that executives may consider in order to make the leap from diversity to inclusion in their organizations. 

On The Fitness Minute...

During the Fitness Minute, we focused on the concept of being open to feedback, as this is something we can all practice. Being open to feedback will help us be more inclusive at work, home, and, most definitely in the gym!  During the show I explore how being open to feedback at the gym can help us improve the quality of our workouts while helping us be more inclusive at home and at work!  


Check out the recording at the end of this post! 

During the interview, Lisa and I explored the pros and cons of the following feedback models that can be instituted in our organizations:

~ Indirect Feedback

~ Direct Feedback

~ Honoring Feedback

Regarding indirect feedback, we talked about how bosses are people too.  They are stressed and have a lot of responsibility.  If many staff members are going to the same boss with indirect feedback about others in the team, it adds to the stress level and the workload of the busy boss.  If the boss is not properly trained, there could be many negative consequences from assumptions and half-truths that derive from indirect feedback. 


While direct feedback is more inclusive than indirect feedback, it requires a lot of discipline from the person delivering the feedback so as NOT to come across as accusatory or judging.  This also requires the receiver to be OPEN FOR FEEDBACK.  During the interview, we talk about Rosita doing everything right in her delivery and how this may not matter to Roberto.  He still chose to make an issue out of it and the situation escalated.  

"The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but, it depends on the delivery of the individual!” 

Lisa Manyoky

A superior model that can help ensure that the feedback is received and acted upon is called Honoring Feedback. This model actually INCLUDES direct feedback but only after the following steps:

~ take time to reflect and question our assumptions

~ wait for a good time to have the conversation

~ invite the other person to lunch or coffee away from the workplace

Towards the end of the interview, Lisa and I discuss how organizational cultures are the responsibilities of the executives in charge.  It is up to them to set the tone and lead by example for others in the organization.  If the executives in the organization resort to exclusionary practices such as indirect feedback, they are not setting the right example!    

Like I always say; "Easy to say, hard to do"!!!


Until next time, I leave you with two questions to ponder:

"Are you a good leader?"  and, "How do you know?"

Self-reflection can be painful but as they say, no pain no gain.  

Thanks for sharing everyone!