How do you present feedback to your boss so they’ll react to it better?


This study investigated the influence of feedback format (text versus numeric/normative) on leaders’ reactions to 360 degree feedback received from bosses, direct reports, and peers. Leaders who received numeric/normative feedback reacted more favourably than those who received text feedback regardless of the source. The reactions recipients experienced following feedback were relevant to changes in their number of development needs compared pre- and post feedback. Those who reacted negatively had a larger number of development needs reported post feedback while those who had positive reactions showed fewer development needs post feedback. These findings suggest that, contrary to predictions of feedback intervention theory (FIT), feedback that provided scores and comparative information was reacted to more positively than text feedback that provided only self-relevant data. In addition, negative reactions to feedback were detrimental to future changes.

Source: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Volume 79, Number 4, December 2006 , pp. 517-532(16)

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