Illustratipn of Feed Back with each caption from a male and female figure respectively

Feedback: Understanding Why We React Differently

How open are you to receiving feedback? Have you ever considered why you react differently to different types of feedback, whether positive or negative?

To better understand this let’s walk through the following notes that I picked from the Leadership Development sessions by Spring Strategies on Feedback and Emotional Resilience in collaboration with the Technology and Society program team of the Ford Foundation.

First, it is great to understand that as the feedback receiver, you may differ from the giver over personal or cultural backgrounds. People are born, raised and cultured differently.

It is also important to understand that:

  • There is a direct communication style where the message is clearly and fully explained                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • And an indirect style is implicit and the message is hinted or suggested.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Power dynamics also come into play when giving or receiving feedback. For example:

  • Low-power distance feedback usually occurs between people in similar ranks or work roles.                                                                                                                                                                               
  • High-power distance feedback occurs between individuals with considerable power differences.                                                                                                                                                                           

Secondly, other forms of feedback take into account perspectives of individualism and collectivism, as well as short-term and long-term orientation. It is worth noting that short-term feedbacks are fixed and driven by deadlines and schedules, while long-term feedback is flexible and driven by greater goals such as mission and vision.

One should also consider asking for consent before giving or receiving feedback and ensure that the other party feels safe and confident throughout the process. Additionally, consider the effect and reaction of the receiver, as it is crucial to maintain a positive relationship.

Lastly, consider the following as your guide for giving feedback;

  • Clarify your intention                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  • Name the situation and context of the feedback                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  • Name the observed behaviour – objectively verifiable                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Describe the impact the behaviour had on you – personalise the experience                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

People like positive feedback because it motivates them to strive for goodness and overall happiness. However, when it comes to negative feedback, it is important to name or suggest a solution that you would find helpful for moving forward.

In civil societies, getting concise and constructive feedback and responses about their work greatly helps them improve on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) strategies for delivering impactful projects and programs.

I wish to know, what do you consider easy to do: Giving feedback or Receiving feedback?

Nicodemus Nyakundi is a Digital Accessibility for PWDs Program Officer at KICTANet. He has a background in IT and advocates for digital inclusivity.



Nicodemus Nyakundi information

Digital Accessibility Program Officer at KICTANet. He has a background in Information Technology, and is passionate about digital inclusivity.

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