The overwhelming majority of senior executives and
managers say the feedback they receive from superiors is positive,
based on a survey by NFI Research. However, when it comes to the
frequency of that feedback, businesspeople are evenly split, with half
getting it frequently and half not.
Those who work in a large company are more likely to receive feedback
more frequently, and it is most likely to be positive. Four-fifths of
business leaders say their feedback is positive, with a third saying it
is extremely positive.
“I regularly receive feedback from both superiors and
colleagues,” said one survey respondent. “They respect my opinions and
encourage me to use my expertise to improve operations. In turn, they
provide the historical and political background for the different
projects I am working on.”
While many businesses conduct annual performance reviews, some
also provide frequent feedback between those reviews. That feedback can
vary, depending on how well things are going.
“In our organization, we seem to be excellent at praise when
things are going well,” said one survey respondent. “But when things
are not necessarily going well, we are shy about an honest discussion
because we fear how this tough (although positive feedback) criticism
will be taken. We prefer the silent treatment in fear of offending and
de-motivating the individual. Every time this happens, the organization
Said another: “We get more frequent feedback when things are
not going as well as expected. Less frequent when we are scaling new
“My superiors are not comfortable when it comes to saying
unpleasant or negative things, and tend to avoid them or generalize,”
said another respondent. “Yet, I need that one-on-one feedback as well;
otherwise, I am missing major personal development opportunities.”
With so many executives and managers receiving positive feedback, some might find themselves seeking tips on ways to improve.
“I believe I, and my organization, would benefit if I received
more suggestions for improvement or ideas for development,” said one
manager. “Most people are better at recognizing their strengths than
they are in identifying their weaknesses.”
Some of the most relevant feedback also can come in the form of compensation, which at times can say more than words.
“Our organization focuses on cash compensation and stock options
as the major feedback indicator,” said one respondent. “As a result, I
get periodic, but not frequent, feedback and a nice bonus. Sadly for
our organization, I am far more motivated by challenging projects and
timely recognition for my success in bringing them to fruition.”
Working remotely also can present challenges for regular feedback.
“I find being in a remote office limits the amount of feedback I
receive from my superiors,” said one respondent. “It is sometimes a
disadvantage, and I sometimes feel out of the loop. For the most part,
however, when receiving feedback it is positive.”
However, not everyone necessarily wants a lot of feedback, preferring more to be left alone to do their work.
“I am pleased with the level of feedback I receive, which is
extremely infrequent,” said one manager. “I like being able to work
autonomously, and I trust my supervisor to communicate when it is
necessary. I’ll even do the same for him.”