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What’s Your Feedback Style?

There are few things more important in the business world than the giving and receiving of feedback. Input from others is the best way for us to improve our performance. However, not everyone gives feedback the same way. Dr. Joseph R. Weintraub of Babson College identified four basic personality types, each with its own characteristic of giving and receiving feedback:

1. Dominance
These are the people who are focused on results and the bottom-line, not people’s feelings. Conversation is more oh a battle than a social interaction. Feedback from them is quick and direct, they don’t have the patience for explanations and excuses. Since they have fairly strong egos, they can take criticism without feeling personally attacked. They like feedback the same way they give it: clear and specific. Get to the point and move on.

2. Influencing
An “Influencing” personality types is your typical ‘people-person’ type: extroverted, life of the party, tons of energy. They get things done with a flare of personality and are often quite emotional. There feedback delivery is indirect; they want to please everyone so they often soften the blow of their critiques. When they receive feedback, especially if it’s negative, they don’t want it done in public but want to feel like they’re in a supportive environment.

3. Steady
These are the patient and unemotional types. Feedback from them doesn’t come with much emotion, it simply includes positives and negatives for any given behavior. They like their feedback delivered in a non-threatning manner. Ensure their need to feel like they’re heard by asking questions that start with “How do you think we can…”

4. Perfectionist
Conscientious and detail-oriented, perfectionists like to persuade through logic. They like to explain things and give organized, structured feedback in what seems to be an obsessively meticulous fashion. Don’t give them ambiguous feedback, they want you to be prepared in advance with details. If not, rejection will follow.


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