Written by Anthony Demangone
It isn't easy criticizing a colleague. We might call it "constructive feedback," but for the person on the receiving end, it looks and feels like a critique.
If the thought of giving feedback to a colleague gives you the chills, I'd recommend reading this article by David Lee. It outlines 19 common mistakes people make when giving "feedback."
Here are a few gems...
Sugar coating negative feedback. - When you’re afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings or triggering a negative response, it’s (unfortunately) natural to sugar coat negative feedback. The result? They can’t decipher what you’re trying to say or the seriousness of the matter.
Waiting for the once a year performance review to give feedback. - This is always a great way to spark confused “What are you talking about?” resentment-packed conversations. The key word in performance reviews is “review”. They’re not supposed to be a place to air late breaking news.
Delivering a long warm-up preamble before giving the negative feedback. - This just builds suspense for what they know is coming: the negative feedback. (“I really appreciate what a team player you are and I really love your attention to detail and I think you’re doing a great job with …. BUT…”).
Mr. Lee, though, makes a very important point. If you want to give feedback, you should return the favor. Allow your colleagues to critique your performance. It will build trust, help you improve, and foster teamwork.
Here's one thing that I'd throw in. Perhaps constructive feedback is ominous, because we always view it as unwelcome and threatening. But why should it be so? As a leader, I think part of your job is to create an atmosphere where feedback is always welcome if the goal is to make things better. Friendly conversations about trying new things, improving processes, and correcting problems should be the norm. The goal is to create a workplace where people feel welcome to question why things are done, and to offer suggestions.
Have a great week, guys.