Intro to FeedbackFeedback is an essential component of personal and professional growth, but it can be challenging to give and receive effectively. Understanding the purpose and benefits of feedback can help individuals approach the process with a positive mindset.
- Feedback is not a dirty wordAlex explains why feedback is critical for personal and company growth, and provides an overview on how to give feedback, receive feedback, and make feedback a part of your company's culture.
Common Giving Feedback Challenges
These are common challenges people face when gaining expertise in giving feedback. Tackling these challenges head-on can help you learn this skill quicker.I'm a team lead at a small tech company. I recently had to give feedback to one of my team members about their performance, but don't think I found the right balance between being honest and not demotivating them. I want to provide constructive criticism that helps them grow, but I also don't want to discourage them. What framework can I use to deliver feedback in a way that is both supportive and honest?I'm a software engineer at a small tech startup. I recently joined a new team and noticed that our code review process has some problems. Feedback often feels like personal attacks rather than professional critique. This creates a tense and uncomfortable environment and doesn't give us the information we need to improve. What should I do to help change our feedback culture?Add your own to track your progress and inspire others
How to Give FeedbackGiving feedback requires tact, Empathy, and clear communication. Experts recommend using specific examples, avoiding judgmental language, and focusing on behavior rather than personality. It's also essential to consider the recipient's personality and communication style to ensure the feedback is received positively.
- My Management Lessons from Three Failed Startups, Google, Apple, Dropbox, and TwitterThis article contains a number of concepts that Kim dives deeper into in her book, Radical Candor. Here she provides a framework for giving feedback with 4 quadrants, with one quadrant in particular being the "best" form: tough love.
- Feedback EquationLara provides a clear framework to structure specific and actionable feedback: provide an observation of a behavior, explain how it impacted you, and then ask questions and make requests.
- Thirty Percent FeedbackJason provides a feedback framework for two types: provide high-level / strategic feedback if a project is in its early stages ("30% done"), and provide typo-level feedback if a project is nearing completion ("90% done").
- Disrupting Bias in FeedbackJill describes common patterns in bias: prove-it-again, the tightrope, personality penalties, the maternal wall, tug-of-war, isolation, imbalance scrutiny, the cheerleader, and the gut check. Understanding and analyzing these patterns in yourself may lead you to provide more objective feedback.
- Why Praising in Public and Criticizing in Private is Key to Giving Feedback Others Will Act OnPraising people publicly and criticizing privately is a good rule of thumb for giving feedback. • Public criticism tends to trigger defensiveness while public praise carries more weight and encourages others. • When praising publicly, provide specific details about what the person did, the impact, and context so the whole team learns. • Provide private criticism to be kind and clear without triggering defensive reactions that hinder learning. • The rule of thumb has exceptions based on individual preferences, opportunities for group learning, and the boss's role. • Following up public praise with private praise shows you care personally. • Great bosses encourage employees to criticize them publicly to model appreciation for criticism. • Public criticism of the boss allows them to address issues for the whole team at once. • Combining public and private praise can have a big emotional impact. • The key is showing you care personally and challenging directly, not just following the rule of thumb.
How to Respond to Defensiveness After Feedback
- How Managers Should Respond to Defensiveness After FeedbackDefensiveness after feedback is a common issue managers face. It can include arguing, not changing behavior after feedback, or avoiding conversations. • Before addressing defensiveness, managers should check if their own feedback was appropriate and specific. • The first few times an employee is defensive after feedback, managers should let it go and focus on the future behavior change they want to see. • If the defensiveness continues, managers should continue addressing the specific behavior issue. They can escalate to giving systemic feedback about the pattern of defensiveness. • Managers should give the same feedback multiple times to give employees opportunities to change. • If the behavior does not change after systemic feedback, managers should involve HR and consider termination. • Taking feedback well is part of an employee's job, and persistent defensiveness is unprofessional. • When giving feedback about defensiveness, managers should focus on specific behaviors and future changes. • Managers should avoid arguing with defensive employees and keep the focus on the desired future behavior. • Using role power and stating consequences can be appropriate when an employee disagrees with feedback standards.
- Defensiveness Is in the Eye of the BeholderDefensiveness can hinder growth, but properly addressed, it can stimulate self-improvement. Defensiveness is seen as a disproportionate or persistent negative response to criticism. Don't label a person defensive as it amplifies negative emotions. Instead, help them regulate their emotions, and later discuss their reaction for learning purposes. For those labelled defensive, see defensiveness as a learning opportunity, accept the feedback as data and commit to gaining understanding. Defensiveness is context-based, so acknowledging that and taking responsibility for it can incite growth and improve relationships.
How to Receive FeedbackReceiving feedback can be uncomfortable, but it's an opportunity to learn and improve. Experts recommend staying open-minded, asking for clarification, and focusing on the feedback's content rather than the delivery. It's also important to avoid becoming defensive or dismissive and to thank the giver for their input.
- Getting Better FeedbackMatt suggests that getting meaningful performance feedback is the responsibility of the individual, not the manager. He shares three techniques for getting better feedback: • Direct your manager’s attention • Articulate your growth areas • Seek feedback outside your manager