Giving feedback posted on 18 March 2024

Giving feedback is one of the best things you can do to help grow your peers/team. It’s however a bit more difficult than what it seems, especially when it comes to giving “negative” feedback.

First the best way to deliver feedback is to not assume that there’s positive or negative feedback. There’s just feedback for growth.

If you want to tell someone that they didn’t do well in some situation, you should:

  • Try to give this feedback as soon as possible – don’t wait for the next perf cycle to give them a chance to get better. Do not wait for your next week 1-1 too such that they can better remember what happened – this is especially important if your feedback is about soft skills
  • If this is the first time you are giving feedback for a person, you can start the discussion that what you are going to say is feedback for their growth, not criticism – and that you may be missing some context so they should be free to push back
  • Try to connect your feedback with your experience – e.g. explain that you wished that someone would have told you the feedback/tip you will deliver because you suffer from not getting it. This helps people understand that the feedback is not a criticism of their work and helps them connect with you. Building a connection/trust is useful, so prefer in person feedback rather than through messages.
  • Don’t sugar coat your feedback and do not end your feedback with “but otherwise you are doing well” – people anchor on what they want to hear and they will just remember the positive part and forget the most useful feedback for their growth

What tips do you have to deliver advice when mentoring someone?

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