Giving better feedback and also improving mental health? – Science and kindness can help

Science and kindness can radically change how we give feedback and, in turn, people’s mental health. Here is how.

Business leaders have the ability to do great good or cause great harm to those who work for and with them. They can create an environment that leads to happier humans, or one in which human suffering is increased. That’s because the impact work has on our mental health is well-researched and documented. We know that certain actions can and do create happier or more miserable employees, and that employee satisfaction affects the bottom line.

Note: This was co-written with my wonderful friend, Kara Joseph, M.S. Kara has a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and is a passionate advocate for applying humanistic and scientific principles to the workplace.

Why do we need a new way of giving feedback?

  1. The science is clear that you need to have deep skepticism of the feedback you provide.
  2. Most feedback is demotivating and hurts employee performance and providing too much feedback hurts employees even more.
  3. The majority of feedback is about things that are not important to the business.
  4. Too often leaders are quick to blame their employees for feedback not working when, in fact, it’s our misconceptions of how feedback works and how to give it that lead to failure.

What are the ways feedback can be warped and wrong?

One of the first things one learns during any CBT or mindfulness training is how little we should trust our thoughts and emotions to provide objective information. We are so prone to using cognitive biases, heuristics, and fallacies to make snap decisions without applying any critical thinking. Here are some I often encounter in the wild:

Here is what I do

Before having any feedback conversations:

  • Make sure that your feedback focuses on performance and is job-relevant.
  • Do not focus on aspects of personality or behavior unless there has been an observed negative impact.
  • Make sure to ask the individual how they prefer to receive feedback, and take steps to deliver feedback using that method.

Recicpeint’s desired method


How: How are we going to measure the success of this?

Authors: Farzad Khosravi and Kara Joseph, M.S.

I'm a 3x founder and my latest startup,, is addressing the existential risks to our information ecosystem. As an entrepreneur, coach, and mentor, my goal is simple: to help people question the narratives they tell themselves and ground their actions and beliefs in the principles of critical thinking. I've worked with hundreds of founders and executives as we tackle growth and emotional challenges through a holistic, critical lens that recognizes the complex, multivariate nature of problems.

Comments are closed.