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Workers Want Critical Feedback, Study Shows

feedback box with word 'feedback' on its side

People rated honest conversations as more enjoyable, socially connecting, and meaningful than others had predicted.

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People consistently underestimate others' desire for constructive feedback and therefore don't provide it, even when it could improve another person's performance on a task, new research shows.

Constructive feedback is instrumental for aiding learning and performance, and research has shown that people commonly report wanting this type of feedback, the researchers say. Despite wanting it themselves, people often avoid giving constructive feedback to others, according to "'Just Letting You Know . . .' Underestimating Others' Desire for Constructive Feedback," published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In a pilot study, only 2.6% of participants provided constructive feedback when they noticed a problematic situation, such as a person having a visible smudge on the face or repeatedly mispronouncing a word during a presentation.

Across five experiments, people in a position to give feedback consistently underestimated potential receivers' desire for it.

From American Psychological Association
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