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How to Give Feedback: The Do’s and Don’ts

May 8, 2020
2 Min Read
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Providing feedback to your peers can be pretty difficult. But, once you realize that giving feedback is the key to enhancing professional skills, then it becomes easier.

We touched on the types of feedback you can expect in the workplace, but it's time to deliver constructive feedback. Whether you're giving peer feedback, employee feedback, or 360-degree feedback, we'll guide through the do's and don'ts with your teammates.

The do’s of giving feedback

Effective feedback is more than just pointing out areas of improvement. A comprehensive feedback process involves clear communication, proper packaging, and the appropriate setting.

  • Be timely. Feedback is only effective when it’s given immediately. Let's say your colleague is presenting a project and you catch them saying “um” frequently. In this case, it’s best to give feedback right away. This way they have time to implement change before the next project.
  • Observations over interpretation.  Feedback is about advising not judging. When giving feedback, focus on observations rather than assuming what you’ve heard or think you’ve seen. Utilizing facts during a feedback session can provide clarity.
  • Be specific. The best feedback practices include specific examples. Share events or projects that involve the professional, and provide constructive feedback on alternative ways to approach the event.
Giving constructive feedback involves being timely. The sooner the better so your colleague has time to implement your suggestion right away (Courtesy of Dribbble)
  • Suggest solutions. Once you’ve relayed all the feedback you have for your colleague it’s time to come up with creative solutions. Brainstorm ways to help them enhance their professional skills and guide them through an action plan.
  • Make it private. Most importantly, make sure that this feedback takes place in a private setting. Direct and constructive feedback is shared with the professional and no one else. This is a private matter that does not involve other team members.

The don’ts of giving feedback

No manager or peer is perfect. We all make mistakes. But, when it comes to giving feedback there are some tactics to avoid. Stray away from these common mistakes while delivering feedback.

  • Avoid opinions. Adding opinions to feedback is just bad practice. Opinions don't give professionals tangible items to fix and may not accurately depict their professional development. Essentially, it can harm a professional’s self-esteem and confidence.
  • Don’t make it personal. Including “you” statements or pinpointing behavior is negative feedback. It’s counterproductive, accusatory, and can off come as a personal attack. Avoid this method when giving feedback.
  • Burn bridges. The point of delivering constructive feedback is to give helpful tips and suggestions as a caring colleague. Feedback shouldn’t be delivered in an inconsiderate manner that ends your working relationship.
  • Avoid humor. There's a time and place for jokes. During a feedback session, they're not appropriate. Adding humor to feedback can mislead peers and cause them to misinterpret the message.

This is a lot, we get it. But, giving feedback gets easier when you consistently practice it. Once you start to notice can-do attitudes, stronger teams, and boosts in productivity you'll understand why feedback is important in the workplace.

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