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Monday, 27 June 2016 06:03

Since when is anonymous feedback ok?

So, hands in the air if you really value receiving anonymous feedback.  I bet there are only a few. 

WARNING (before you read any further):  I’m going to deliver a self-confessed antagonist’s view for eliminating this means of ‘helping’ people become more self aware. It’s just gutless, damaging and inauthentic.


So you log on, open your email and in your Inbox sits your 360 degree feedback report. You are so keen to understand what others think of you.  Until you read the negative comments or see the 1 out of 5 ratings (1 being ‘not achieving’).  Whether it is a surprise or not, it’s wounding.  Now you’d like to understand this more and have a conversation with the person who gave you that score.  But no... you can’t. It’s anonymous.


If you think about the definition of anonymous; it’s nameless, impersonal, unremarkable and unknown.  Yeah, that sounds like the kind of person I want to get feedback from... Not!


Whilst there might be a lot of good ratings and comments in the report it’s the not so positive ones that we ruminate on.  We walk about the office wondering who said it and sit in meetings nervous to speak.  At best anonymous feedback makes people feel good for a few days, but it’s mostly hurtful, it wounds and it depletes our self esteem.  All without being able to discuss.


Constructive feedback is negative or positive. It’s specific, grounded in facts and examples and it is not personal.  It should be clear about what performance or behaviour we need to keep doing more of or where we have some room for improvement. It’s done face to face or at least verbally. When done well it is meant to help us become a better version of ourselves. 


Anonymous feedback is a useful as following a faceless leader.


Organisations that truly value honesty, transparency and authenticity don’t use it. Organisations that aim for high performance and a supportive, open culture don’t use them.


Susan Scott, author of ‘Fierce Conversations’, busts the myth that most people can’t handle the truth.  If someone was sincerely unhappy with your work, what would you want them to do?  Yes, tell you.  If someone was sincerely happy with your work, what would you want them to do?  Yes, tell you.


Giving feedback anonymously is more about the giver than the receiver.  It’s more about the business or people not being brave enough to help someone understand themselves.  It’s not giving them the gift of constructive feedback.


So teach your people to communicate well with each other if you want a culture of high performers who are engaged and have great relationships.


To learn more about how to create a great feedback culture in your organisation get yourself a copy of Georgia’s book Fixing Feedback and subscribe to her weekly blogs by Staying Connected.

Last modified on Monday, 27 June 2016 06:56

About Georgia

Georgia is obsessed with the power of great communication. She knows how great communication leads to great collaboration and helps create outstanding cultures.


Email: niki@georgiamurch.com

Phone: 0402 119 333

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