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5 Ways to Handle the Dreaded Feedback Triangle

Many leaders have found themselves in a tough spot when faced with the dreaded request for triangulation: "Can you talk to this person for me?," is a familiar request that often puts leaders in a lose-lose situation. If you agree, you risk damaging team dynamics and hearing the inevitable question: "Who’s been talking behind my back?" If you decline, the situation may escalate into further complications.

Fret not! When dealing with feedback triangulation, you have the power to navigate this challenging situation with effective strategies.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Go to the source 🗣️: When confronted with a triangulation request, encourage the individuals involved to engage in direct communication. Urge them to have a one-on-one conversation to address their concerns or issues. By fostering a culture of open and honest dialogue, leaders can empower team members to resolve conflicts themselves and promote accountability.

2. Observe firsthand 👀: If the feedback-seeker insists on your involvement, offer to observe the situation directly. This approach enables you to gather accurate information and deliver feedback based on your personal observations, thereby maintaining the integrity of the feedback process.

3. Offer to mediate 🤝: Facilitate a constructive conversation between the parties involved. By providing a neutral and supportive environment, you help guide the discussion, encourage active listening, and seek mutual understanding. This approach helps promote a resolution while maintaining a team atmosphere.

4. Ask for permission to use their name 📝: Integrity and transparency are fundamental values in any professional setting. If you feel compelled to share feedback received from others, it’s crucial to seek permission from the feedback-seeker before disclosing their identity. By doing so, you maintain trust and prevent unwarranted speculation about hidden conversations.

5. Give feedback anonymously 🎭: While anonymity is not the ideal approach, there may be circumstances where it’s necessary. If you must provide feedback anonymously, exercise caution and ensure the feedback is constructive and well-intentioned. The goal should always be to facilitate growth and improvement while avoiding unnecessary harm or conflict.

Remember, as a leader, you have the power to steer your team away from the perils of feedback triangulation. By embracing these strategies, you can foster a culture of open communication, trust, and healthy conflict resolution.

To learn more check out our ‘Courageous Conversations’ workshop!

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