Feedback is Your Greatest Gift

Sat, Dec 4, 2010 2-minute read

When is the last time you gave the gift of appreciation? I don’t mean “Thank You” as the social lubricant. I mean a thoughtful expression of exactly what somebody has done, and the impact it had on you.

One of my favourite work habits is expressing this simple act of ‘Thank You’. Not always to the person themselves – but to their manager.

Aside: At work, I send ‘Thank You’s to the person directly, and CC their manager. That way, their manager knows, and you get to thank them directly.

In every company I’ve ever seen, “helping others” is a trait that the company values highly. It’s not really something that you can measure, though.  Managers try their best (through peer feedback, dropping by offices, etc.), but helping others usually happens below the radar. It’s not a feature. It doesn’t show up in weekly status reports. People don’t “manage it up”.

When you appreciate somebody’s help, how will the system ever know – if not for your detailed and open feedback?

Feedback in the workplace is just one example of the positive influence of feedback.

  • Blogs. If a post improves your life, post a comment! (I’ve considered locking comments to this post, because the purpose of this is emphatically not a troll!) If the whole blog makes your life better, send an email!
  • Books. Amazon comments are an author’s greatest gift. Feedback on the 1st edition of the PowerShell Cookbook has both helped me improve it, and helped others decide if the book is right for them. Feedback on the 2nd edition has just started, but is immensely helpful.
  • EBay. EBay sellers live and die by their reputation. If you’ve had a good experience, let the world know!
  • Your significant other. You’re with them because they make you happy. If you’ve been together for a while, this is easy to forget. Why not let them know that their special habit has been making your happy every day since you met?

I’m sure you can think of somebody right now that has helped you recently. Why not provide feedback? If you’d love to (but can never remember), try putting a monthly reminder in your calendar!