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  • Writer's pictureCarole Stizza

Screw Feedback: Manage Your Top Strengths

Updated: May 31, 2021

Marcus Buckingham is about to release a new book claiming that feedback isn’t what people want.

The Washington Post hosted a Q-and-A session with Marcus, published on February 24, 2019. He argues that what people really want, and need to be good managers, are the reactions of others.

The interplay between cause and effect, that leads to productive insights. Insights that show us what to continue to keep doing and what to tweak. Ultimately this will produce better results, reactions, and relationships.

SCREW FEEDBACK! Information about the reaction people experience from your work or from working with you is the key information we seek to understand and receive. We can only begin to improve when we understand why the reaction was not what we intended.

We are not always looking for advice or feedback on how to improve.

FOCUSING ON LEADERS V. EMPLOYEES Marcus offers an approach that seems to speak to business leaders. As a fan of Marcus Buckingham, and an avid reader of all of his books, I’ve chosen to take a different stance and still cheer on the very core of what he wants to achieve.

Instead of speaking only to business leaders, my goal is to offer tips and tools to the receiver of information (the manager, employee, individual, etc.). How to find and then receive the information you really want, when you want it, and how to do it without falling prey to the well-intentioned soul who just wants to give you ways to improve (look for my book about exactly that later this year).

People don’t want to keep hearing ways to improve without understanding what it will provide as results.

For leaders: stop giving feedback unless you know exactly how to ask and receive it first. It’s especially critical to know why you are asking and receiving it.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE WITHOUT FEEDBACK? ASK! How DO you manage others without using feedback? I urge you to step into the conversations that matter and – ask your people.

They will either ask for the same support (which, when explored is seen differently by each) or they will be more specific in what they need to be their best.

Both ways work. Here’s the interesting point: regardless of what they say, you will interpret what they say through your unique and particular strengths.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR NATURAL STRENGTHS? Your natural strengths are the lens in which you see the world and what motivates you to show up and be spectacularly you. We all have different top strengths and it is uncanny how they affect all we do and say.

Tip: We all see the world differently, are motivated differently, and this is what makes each person valuable – not how well we fit into a pre-fabricated mold of excellence.

Excellence is different for everyone. Managing others to be their own version of excellence means you will get excellence from your team.

EXCELLENCE IS A REACTION, NOT A RESULT Excellence is not a standard list of characteristics or traits. Excellence is found within the reaction of good work.

When people are told they provide excellent work, it means that the work needed no redo, no edits, provided great data for clients, and provided the right information for the end result to be positive.

In all cases excellence will be the resulting reaction and I think this is what Marcus Buckingham is going after. Embrace how uniquely valuable each person is and you will get excellence. When your team can use their strengths in all they do, everyone is happy and successful.

You, as a manager, need to understand your strengths and understand how to maximize them.

When you do this, you are showing your value; your unique value. When you experience this, you will want your team to experience this as well.

If you’ve not taken the time to build your self-awareness on what your strengths are, reach out for information on the different ways to do that quickly.

For more information, you can reach Carole at or see more blogs at Note: This year I am running workshops on ‘Finding your Value’ and I get very excited when I get to share this topic with people. In a self-improvement type world, we seem fixated on what to continually improve instead of how to maximize the strengths we currently have, and I aim to turn that on it’s ear by empowering people to go after the information they need to understand their individual value, how to maximize that value, and then be able to communicate that value.

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