Feedforward: making strengths even stronger

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

In more contemporary conversations-approaches about their performance-employees are taking the lead. They initiate the conversations, ask their supervisor to prepare for them and do the same themselves, such as with feedforward. The approach is to make the strengths even more mature. Strengthen what works, performing becomes thriving!


How to make strengths even stronger?

In performance conversations, the supervisor explains the work that employees do well. He has gathered information from those directly involved, for example a project leader, a customer, colleagues, et cetera, and asked them the question: ‘to what strengths does this employee owe his good performance?’ In the interview, the manager expresses his appreciation for this and explains what he has heard. He then explores with the employee how these strengths can be further strengthened and utilized. The executive has explored in his preparation in which roles and projects this is the case. This preparation allows nails to be hammered in the conversation.



The employee also prepared for the interview and asked for the compliments received recently, feedask. In feedask, the employee gathers information from others about his performance and, if it is a compliment, asks them out. Compliments are often dismissed with phrases like, “well, it wasn’t that hard” or “well, I’m just messing around too. Whereas a compliment contains a goldmine of information about a strong point.

Tip: When you receive a compliment, ask questions such as, “Why did you like it?”, “What did you like about my approach or attitude?” and “What made you enthusiastic? The answers reveal where the employee is really effective and what their strengths are.



When employees develop, everything does not go right away. Mistakes are therefore learning moments and therefore valuable. But mistakes made cannot be fixed. Also, employees often know where things went wrong and therefore do not need to hear it again. So why not focus on the future? The future is changeable, the past is not. Feedforward is feedback but forward. It is forward-looking, positive and focuses on how a person can change their behavior in the future.

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By emphasizing as a manager what the employee did well, they develop a sense of development and strength. The likelihood of a desired behavior change is high with feedforward because it:

    • meant positively
    • Focusing on desired behaviors
    • focuses on strengths
    • assumes a positive learning environment

In new-style performance reviews, the employee is in the lead. He asks his supervisor to help think about how strengths can be used even more and asks for received compliments. In the conversation itself lies the orientation to improve, the future and feedforward prove its value herein.


Want to know more about feedforward and feedask?

Curious about what questions to ask in the performance appraisal interview? Also read our blog “10 key questions to ask for a constructive and modern performance appraisal.

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