Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) Book Summary - Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) Book explained in key points
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Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) summary

M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish

Why We Fear It, How to Fix It

4.4 (141 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) by M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish is a guide to developing a positive feedback culture in the workplace, by recognizing and avoiding the common pitfalls associated with giving and receiving feedback.

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    Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Feedback’s brand has taken a hit, but it’s an invaluable source of improvement and growth. 

    You stroll into work, ready to face the day. Just as you sit down, your boss pops her head out her office door: “I’ve got some feedback for you. Please come into my office.” 

    For lots of us, just hearing this is enough to set our hearts racing. Our palms sweat and our legs feel numb as we cross the floor to the boss’s office. Thoughts race through the mind: What have I done? Did I screw something up? 

    Of course, it’s likely that the feedback is innocuous or even positive. So why do we have such an anxious, immediate and forceful reaction to the offer of it?

    Feedback has been consistently mishandled. Bad leaders use it to punish or manipulate staff, using brutal frankness with no regard for employee morale. Even good bosses hoard feedback, positive and negative, and then dump it all at once on unsuspecting employees at annual performance reviews. 

    And it’s not just givers at fault. There’s probably been a time in your life when you’ve gotten defensive in response to feedback, argued the facts, or fought back with a tirade about someone else’s failings. 

    But this is unfortunate, because feedback, effectively delivered, drives meaningful improvements in business performance.

    A 2018 study explored the impact of multiple techniques used in 57 companies in the US to improve performance management. It found the biggest driver of measurable improvement in performance was building a Performance Feedback Culture, in which managers are trained in how to give feedback and incentivized to do so. Unsurprisingly, managers in such cultures provide regular and attentive feedback. The financial gains of the one-third of companies that were best at giving feedback were double those of the one-third that was worst for feedback. Furthermore, the study found that good feedback was the management practice most strongly correlated with employee motivation. 

    Still need convincing of feedback’s value? Consider that, despite feedback’s bad rep, the most common complaint that the authors hear in their lives as management consultants is that people don’t get enough of it. A 2018 global study of employee engagement led by Officevibe found that a full 62 percent of workers wanted more feedback, and 83 percent appreciated it, whether it was positive or negative. 

    People want good feedback, and developing a good feedback culture makes sense for any organization. But before we can build such a culture, we first need to understand why we are currently getting things wrong. 

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    Key ideas in Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)

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    What is Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) about?

    Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) (2019) is a smart and practical guide to something many of us fear: seeking, giving and receiving feedback. It explains how we can avoid the negative psychological reactions many of us have to feedback, and offers practical tips for how we can all build a positive and helpful feedback culture. 

    Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) Review

    Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) (2019) is a book that dives deep into the importance of feedback in the workplace and provides practical strategies for building a thriving feedback culture. Here's what makes it worth reading:

    • With its refreshing approach to feedback, the book challenges traditional feedback models and offers innovative ideas for fostering open communication.
    • Through real-life stories and examples, the authors bring the concepts to life, making it relatable and easy to understand.
    • The book's interactive exercises and actionable tips empower readers to implement effective feedback practices, making it a valuable resource for leaders and teams alike.

    Best quote from Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)

    How much happier will we all be when feedback is no longer a dirty word?

    —M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish
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    Who should read Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)?

    • Anyone who has felt uncomfortable giving or receiving feedback 
    • Leaders who’d like to help their people grow and create a safe and strong feedback culture
    • People committed to improvement in the workplace

    About the Author

    Tamra Chandler is the CEO and Founder of PeopleFirm, one of America’s best management consultancies of 2018, according to Forbes magazine. PeopleFirm works with clients including, T-Mobile, Nordstrom, Nike and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve and rethink internal culture, leadership and performance management. Laura Dowling Grealish is a senior consultant at the firm. 

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    Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) FAQs 

    What is the main message of Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)?

    The main message of Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) is to embrace feedback as a tool for growth and improvement.

    How long does it take to read Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)?

    The reading time for Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) is worth reading for its insightful perspective on feedback and its potential for positive change.

    Who is the author of Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)?

    The authors of Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) are M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish.

    What to read after Feedback (and Other Dirty Words)?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Feedback (and Other Dirty Words), here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Reynolds
    • Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People by Renée Evenson
    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
    • Mindstuck by Michael McQueen