Tue Apr 25 2023

Why should we care about feedback?

how to identify feedback, what key factors you should consider when giving feedback, and steps to take when it's not easily recognizable.

Case study

When I talk to candidates during the recruitment process, many of them mention the lack of feedback as the reason for looking for a new job. Where does this come from? Of course, as someone with a background in psychology, I would say it depends. However, while I was looking for a more concrete answer, I came across a study that helped me understand the topic better. In a study done by Harvard Business School, Just letting you know…, it was shown that feedback givers were less likely to provide feedback than receivers wanted them to. In other words, people around us think that we don't really want to know how we can correct our negative actions and support the positive ones. Inspired by this study, at Product Brew, we try to support our internal desire for feedback. Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet to develop great communication in an organization. That's why we recognize our values: curiosity, independence, and reliability in the company feedback culture.


    It's never enough for us in terms of learning. We share knowledge on a daily basis during office time, tech talks, and code reviews. We ask each other what we can do to execute our daily tasks better.


    The freedom of thinking and the freedom of action are crucial for us. When we make decisions, it doesn't matter whether you are in the majority or not. We want to hear your point of view.


    You get 100% of our trust from day one. We all make sure that feedback is given with good intentions. If something goes wrong, we know you did everything you could to prevent it. We give feedback in a timely manner, describing facts and not blaming the person.

We should care about feedback because we're both givers and receivers. A clear feedback culture in the company can only support effective communication and help you get better at it.

Does feedback make us bitter or better?

To answer this question, let's start with a clarification of what feedback really is.


Information about a process, behaviour, or attitude provided to make adjustments that eliminate problems or otherwise optimize functioning.

“Your report was full of data and examples. It was presented in an easy way. However, next time try to give more space for ideas from the audience. It will make it more insightful.”

Sounds easy, right? Not that easy, I would say. Feedback is usually confused with two other terms. Sometimes you hear that you did a good job on the project - what a success! But wait…What should you repeat next time? Your way of communication? Speed of work? Collaboration with the team? You don’t really know. In this case, you didn’t get feedback. It was praise.


Is a recognition for a (past) job well done. It doesn’t directly map to performance the way feedback does.

“Amazing work! You’re doing a good job working with our clients. I’m happy with the outcomes.”

On the other side of the sepctrum, you might hear only negative comments. The project was poorly done. The proposed solution - weak. They only say that you could have done something better. Is this feedback? By no means. You’ve just been criticized.


Highlights faults without offering solutions, focus on the past and weaknesses. Criticism says: “You are the problem”.

“I don’t like that. It’s just not good. Let me show you 200 better ways to solve that.”

Returning to our initial question, as you can see, proper feedback can only make us better. The other two? Well, criticism can definitely make us bitter. Praise makes us feel good, but it doesn’t stimulate our growth :)

Another way to recognize that feedback is feedback.

We reviewed very exaggerated examples, but as you know, in daily work, you can receive several pieces of information at once. Sometimes praise is mixed with criticism. What else can help us recognize valuable feedback?

Based on Graziadio Business Review, constructive feedback is timely, non-evaluative, actionable, focused, and understood. Let’s dig into that.


Timely - Feedback should be given as soon as possible. Sometimes, managers who find it hard to give feedback might wait hoping the behaviour will change, but that usually doesn't work. It's better to give feedback early on because it gets harder to do with time.


Non-evaluative - Feedback should focus on behaviour or performance, not on personal characteristics, and should be given in a private and respectful manner.

“Your communication is bad” → Opinion

“During the conversation, you answered all the questions in one sentence. We were unable to get to know you better.” → Feedback


Actionable - Feedback should have practical value to the recipient and should be able to be acted upon. It is focused on specific actions and behaviours that can be changed.


Focused - Covers one point at a time. People are more likely to take feedback to heart and act upon it if the message refers to what’s important for them: their professional goals and ambitions.

“I need you to participate more in this project.” → Distracted + Context-less

“During the conversation, you answered all the questions in one sentence. We were unable to get to know you better.” → Feedback


Understood - The aim of any communication is to be understood by both sides. However, we often misinterpret or misunderstand messages. It’s crucial to check if we are on the same page after the feedback.

And that's it! That's how you'll know you're dealing with constructive feedback.

I hope you that in your environment, there’s a leader or manager who uses at least 2 of these rules. However, we all know that expectations and reality don’t always match. Is there anything you can do if you feel like feedback is missing?

Just ask.

At Product Brew, we don't have strictly defined feedback procedures – we tailor them to our needs. As you already know, feedback should be provided as soon as possible, so waiting for annual/quarterly evaluation just doesn't make sense. We rely on an individualist approach, so if at any time we lack feedback, we just ask for it.

Check if you agree with our rules:


Make it clear you want honest feedback because it will genuinely help you grow.


Focus on what you can do better in the future rather than on what went wrong in the past.


Ask questions about the areas in which you need improvement, for example, performance during team meetings. In your questions, refer to specific situations, such as yesterday’s meeting.


Listen instead of judging. Becoming defensive makes it less likely that the other person will be honest with you.

Now, what if one sunny day the tables were turned and you would find yourself in charge of establishing a feedback culture in your organization?
Where would you start?

Quick fix - DESC method.

Let me google that for you! My solution is the DESC method – a simple yet helpful way to prepare for giving feedback.

Describe - the behaviour/situation as completely and objectively as possible. Facts only!

“The last project we worked on, I did all of the setup for the presentation by myself and it took me almost an hour.”

Express - your feelings or thoughts about the behaviour/situation. Using “I” and not “You”.

“I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated.”

Specify - what behaviour/outcome would you like to see in the future?

“I would like us to work together on the setup for the next presentation.”

Consequences - specify the consequences if the previously specified outcomes happen. (Both positive and negative).

“This way we can complete the setup in less time, giving us both a chance to gather our thoughts before we present.”

Of course, you will find 100 other methods that are similar to DESC, and that’s ok! Don’t hesitate to try a different approach and choose a method that makes things easier for you.

Our feedback adventure is slowly coming to an end.

I hope that now we can agree that feedback is an essential part of personal and professional growth. It is not easy to give/receive because it’s often confused with praise and criticism. No rules and methods will help if they aren’t put into practice. That’s why it’s so important to find a place where feedback is put first.

You + our skills = ❤