Thought For The Day: Carbless Feedback, an Extra Helping

I was given a gift today. After our retrospective, a teammate gave me an honest to god, solid gold slice of carbless feedback. Brilliant.

Now, after posting on “carbless feedback” last week, a few folks asked me for an example. I’ve pondering the best way to share an example. Much like instagramming a pic of my dinner, I could share an example of providing carbless feedback, but it makes me feel all wrong inside. Delivering feedback with love really requires the recipient’s mana to be kept intact, so it’s not a great plan to blog about it…

Fortunately, I’m now in this beautiful position of being able to share the feedback I received. This is what “carbless feedback” looks like to me…

After our retrospective had finished up, and there weren’t a lot of people around, my teammate asked me if he could give me some feedback. Once I agreed, he just directly told me they felt that I gave too many soliloquies in the retrospective, and it would be more beneficial for the team if there was more time for them to talk.

That was it.

Here’s why I believe this is a great example of carbless feedback.

  1. It was straightforward and simple. The feedback was direct and to the point, following the formula


    It wasn’t personal and it was backed up with what might work better.

  2. It was delivered at the right time and in the right setting. It wasn’t blurted out in the middle of the retrospective, to call me out in front of a roomful of people. He waited, he was respectful.

  3. I was asked if I was willing to receive the feedback rather than having someone’s opinion thrust upon me.

  4. There was no filler. No bread. No hint of a sh*t sandwich. I don’t think it would have had the same effect if the feedback had been delivered along the lines of:

    “Hey Emma, I thought that retro was really good because I like your use of Post-it notes. By the way you talk too much. But I really love it when you draw stuff on the board.”

    To my mind, the meaning would have been lost or confused using that approach.

As a side note, I agree with the feedback I was given. Sometimes I get right on up there on my soapbox, trying to be an inspirational coach, and I forget that when I’m facilitating it’s not about me. It’s about the people in the room. Even if I think I’m motivating people, I’m not facilitating if I’m delivering a monologue.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Have you experienced carbless feedback? How did you find it?

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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