Training Badge
Submitted by suedavis on


One of my high performers is a friend of mine; we worked together as peers at my previous job, and he followed me to our new company. I've given him several bits of affirming feedback (and one adjustment), and the last time I asked him if it was okay to give him feedback, he replied, "it's [i]always[/i] okay for you to give me feedback."

Do I take this at face value, and just give him feedback, or do I need to keep asking?

juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

I would probably still ask. It's obvious he's very open to feedback, but we all have days where one more thing would be too much. Be sure to give him feedback on his openness and willingness to accept your feedback and assure him that you'll continue to ask just in case some day the answer is 'not right now'.

gernot's picture

keep on asking.

It's not only that you ask for a permission, you will also switch him to the feedback receiving mode.

But maybe he is a candidate for the optional extension of the fedback model, so you can ask him in step 4:" Can you do it differently"

rthibode's picture

I agree with Julia and gernot. Would it sound better to him if you said "Is now a good time to give you some feedback?" To me, this sounds less like asking for permission, which seems to be what he's reacting to.

Congrats on using the model!

RichRuh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Definitely ask.

Another thing you might do is to periodically remind your directs that the question is NOT rhetorical. It is perfectly OK to say "no" to that question.

Sometimes I forget that saying 'no' to 'The Boss' isn't always that easy.


TomW's picture
Training Badge

I'd still ask. There's always a possibility that it's a busy time, a bad day, or just the wrong moment.

I like R's idea, "Is now a good time for feedback?"

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

It's respectful to ask. That's why I'd keep asking. It send a specific message. And he definitely sounds like a candidate for modified feedback model. Why, in my opinion, is another sign of respect and trust.

MattJBeckwith's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

[quote="RichRuh"]Definitely ask.

Another thing you might do is to periodically remind your directs that the question is NOT rhetorical. It is perfectly OK to say "no" to that question.

Sometimes I forget that saying 'no' to 'The Boss' isn't always that easy.


Rich, that is brilliant. Now that "may I give you some feedback?" is heard throughout my department I should remind people that it's not rhetorical.

Peter.westley's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Another vote for keep on asking. It's about him being in the frame of mind to accept. It's polite. And it removes any ambiguity about what you're doing in that conversation.

mptully's picture

I am totally in agreement with finding out whether NOW is a good time to interrupt someone to give them feedback. It is no different than ringing someone up about something and saying ‘do you have five minutes to talk about x’ and if they don’t, ringing back later.

The place where I feel uncomfortable asking if it is okay to give feedback is in supervisory meetings with PhD students. I cannot help feel that feedback here is the whole point. The reason they have come to the meeting is to get feedback, and plenty of it, on the work that they have previously sent you to read. And you can’t really argue that you need to find out whether NOW is good – both of you have already blocked it out in your diary.

As a result, I tend to use the peer feedback model, just ‘when you do … this is what happens’, or more likely ‘when you write … this is what the reader thinks’.

What do other people do in meeting where the purpose is to teach/train someone to do something? Do you take it as read that feedback is both acceptable at that time and that it will automatically be the job of the learner to come up with how they are going to improve things?


WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I don't think you need to ask permission to teach someone something. But when you're making an adjustment, the questions adds to the effectiveness.

So let's say I'm teaching someone how to teach students. I give my teaching tips. I deliver my content. Then I ask permission to give them feedback. With their permission I give them specific feedback (critique?) on their teaching methods.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

ALWAYS ASK when you're talking to a direct.

What your friend is saying is that he has a great attitude about feedback. That doesn't mean that he is ready, at every moment, to really hear it and act upon it.

I've seen this happen...when performance of a friend goes sour, for whatever reason, feedback becomes more negative. And suddenly, you get snapped at for NOT asking.

Finally, it increases the chances you'll give feedback to some other direct without asking.

Always ask.