Derek Grant


People can respond negatively to constructive feedback – so feedforward instead.

When we provide feedback to an employee, we share information regarding how they are currently performing. When negative feedback is given, the individual can respond defensively and even constructive feedback can be taken the wrong way.

The idea of feedforward is to replace constructive or negative feedback with future-oriented solutions. In simple terms, it is all about focusing on the future instead of the past.

Feedforward is about providing clear guidance on future goals and objectives without offering positive or negative criticism. It gives suggestions on how people can succeed in the future, which can be influenced by the right behaviours, rather than dwell on past failures that cannot be changed.

A feedforward approach empowers your team to contribute to meaningful objectives and gives them something tangible to work towards. Rather than giving negative feedback to an employee who makes a mistake, you can discuss how they can complete the task more efficiently in the future.

From a management perspective, it is usually more productive to help people learn to be right rather than prove where they were wrong. Feedforward tends to work well in successful and highly motivated teams. High performing individuals like getting ideas to help them achieve their future goals.

A feedforward approach means a shift in management style towards a coaching culture. This requires catching up with your team members each month to feedforward on ways to improve. For example, if a team member doesn’t engage in conversation in weekly team meetings, you can coach and encourage them to participate more rather than criticise them.

Feedforward moves the focus away from the individual towards future performance. It doesn’t involve personal critique and sets people on a course to achieve their goals. Why not give it a try and see what you could achieve?