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    Handout: Receiving Critical Feedback: All the Icky Feelings

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Course Description and Learning Outcomes

Everyone has had the awful and awkward experience of receiving critical feedback about their job performance from a supervisor or mentor.  Sometimes it can leave you feeling driven towards your professional goals.  Sometimes it can make you feel awful about your professional performance.  Most of the time it just leads to lots of icky feelings.  

Since we work as clinicians who are required to continue learning throughout our career, it’s safe to assume that receiving critical feedback will always be part of our work experience.  But does it always have to come with icky feelings? Are there different kinds of feedback? Are there ways to make the experience better? We wanted to know, so we went to the literature to find out.

Join us in this episode to learn more about why receiving critical feedback can feel so icky.  We review several articles from the fields of psychology and organization behavior management (OBM).  Take a listen, be our nerdy friends, and learn a little bit about what you can do to make those icky feelings a little more tolerable.

  1. Identify at least two components of the feedback landscape and at least two benefits of supervision and mentorship  

  2. Describe at least two important components of critical feedback

  3. Identify at least two strategies for receiving critical feedback

Course Presenters

SLP/BCBA; SLP Kate Grandbois (she/her) & Amy Wonkka (she/her

Kate and Amy are co-founders of SLP Nerdcast. Kate is a dually certified SLP / BCBA who works primarily as an "AAC Specialist." She owns a private practice with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, augmentative alternative communication intervention and assessment, and consultation. Amy is an SLP who also works as an "AAC Specialist" in a public school setting. Amy's primary interests are AAC, typical language development, motor speech, phonology, data collection, collaboration, coaching, and communication partner training and support.

Speaker Disclosures

Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast. Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG. 

Amy Wonkka financial disclosures: Kate is an employee of a public school system and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

Time Ordered Agenda

10 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures

20 minutes:  Descriptions of the feedback landscape: supervision, mentorship, and the benefits of each 

15 minutes:  Descriptions of the importance of critical feedback

10 minutes:  Descriptions of strategies for receiving critical feedback

5 minutes: Summary and Closing

References and Resources

Blosser, J. (Medbridge) Supervision and Mentoring Throughout the Career Journey [video].

Cook, T. & Dixon, M. (2006) Performance Feedback and Probabilistic Bonus Contingencies Among Employees in a Human Service Organization, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 25:3, 45-63, DOI: 10.1300/J075v25n03_04

Fabricio Balcazar, Bill L. Hopkins & Yolanda Suarez (1985) A Critical, Objective Review of Performance Feedback, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 7:3-4, 65-89, DOI: 10.1300/J075v07n03_05

Arco, L. (1997) Improving Program Outcome with Process-Based Performance Feedback, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 17:1, 37-64, DOI: 10.1300/J075v17n01_03

McCready, V., Flynn, P., (2013). The Supervision Iceberg: More than Meets the Eye. [PowerPoint Slides]

Palmer, M., Johnson, C., & Johnson, D. (2015) Objective Performance Feedback: Is Numerical Accuracy Necessary?, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 35:3-4, 206-239, DOI: 10.1080/01608061.2015.1093059

Steelman, L. & Levy, P. & Snell, Andrea. (2004). The Feedback Environment Scale: Construct Definition, Measurement, and Validation. Educational and Psychological Measurement - EDUC PSYCHOL MEAS. 64. 165-184. 10.1177/0013164403258440. 

Steelman, L.A. & Rutkowski, K.A. (2004), "Moderators of employee reactions to negative feedback", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 6-18.

ASHA S.T.E.P. Program:


The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice.  SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated.  We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material.  We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle.  That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared.  If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! We'd love to hear from you!