At last week’s Future Assistant Conference, we had a brilliant session on how you can manage an awkward conversation. Our wonderful speaker, Julie Leitz, introduced the session by saying that most advancements in our careers and our lives come from difficult conversations, but actually, we are never taught how to have these conversations, how to manage them and how to deal with the people we are communicating with. Giving and receiving feedback at work can often be classed as one of those difficult conversations. But it doesn’t have to be; if presented correctly, with the right intentions, feedback is a beautiful thing that can help move us in the right direction.

For Assistants, giving and receiving feedback is so critical. We have to keep an open dialogue with our Executive’s so that we know the partnership is working effectively, which means we also have to give our Executive feedback along with receiving it. Eeekkk right? This is hard, providing feedback to the person that runs the team? Department? Division? Organisation? Yup! It is part of the role, and again if given constructively and with the right mindset (and timed correctly) can help improve your role and ultimately your career.

Having just recently employed my first full-time member of staff I am looking at improving my management, and leadership skills and this area is an improvement project for me. I’m someone who takes feedback very personally, so I’m working on that and also giving it constructively and thinking about how to deliver feedback, so it is useful – both the positive and the negative stuff. So I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and I want to share ten fantastic resources (books, articles and online courses) that will help you give better feedback at work to all levels of seniority.

Great articles and blog posts 

Giving feedback to your boss (Harvard Business Review)

Giving Feedback to your boss, like a boss (The Muse)

Difficult Workplace Conversations (Balanced Career)

31 tips on how to give and receive feedback at work (ThriveYard)

The Art And Science Of Giving And Receiving Criticism At Work (Fast Company)


Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up

The Feedback Imperative: How to Give Everyday Feedback to Speed Up Your Team’s Success

How to lead when you’re not in charge

Online Courses 

Giving and Receiving Feedback for Management and Leadership

Giving Helpful Feedback

So what’s my favourite tip from all of these resources?

I like the idea of being teachable, from the ThriveYard article, ‘Of utmost importance is your ability to recognize your shortcomings or weaknesses and the willingness to do something about it. At times we might have our internal sirens blaring warning us that we are headed on the wrong path and feedback serves as a red traffic light or a stop sign to alert us that we are headed down the wrong path. Demonstrate the desire and understanding to change course and to move to the correct road. Even though at the moment of impact, receiving critical feedback can sting since it feels bad to be told that you don’t measure up, yet we need the reality check to jump-start us back into realignment. Look at the big picture on what went wrong and ask yourself what you could have done better and what you can do better moving forward.’

I also like the idea that the more feedback you get, the more you want. IT becomes part of your everyday experience at work. This is from The Feedback Imperative, Carroll explains that in our digital world we are very much used to getting constant feedback (think about the use of Fitbits and other health technology – we are always aware of how we are doing), the same applies for feedback – the more we know about our performance the more we want to know. The usefulness of feedback is how accurate it is!