Giving and receiving honest feedback is essential at the workplace. Be as positive as possible when receiving feedback. When giving feedback, don't be too direct or too indirect. Follow the simple rules of giving feedback in this article to make sure your feedback is effective.
What Is Feedback
One essential aspect of any work is feedback. Getting feedback can help speed up the project's initial stages, saving many resources in the final stages. Feedback is so vital that some project architectures are formed solely on it. For instance, the Agile methodology depends heavily on the feedback of the customers, other teams, etc.
Giving or receiving feedback is not an easy task. Giving feedback without knowing the work inside out can lead to misunderstandings and, in turn, additional work. As effective as feedback is, it can be equally bad if it is not delivered right. In this article, we'll show you some ways to give or ask for feedback effectively.
Source: OSU.EDU: ON 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK
Why You Might Want the Feedback
Feedback can help you finish any work pretty quickly and efficiently. You need to have good communication skills to deliver or receive feedback effectively.
Problems It Solves for Teams
- Bad product-market fit
- Unsuccessful Product
- Unhappy Clients
- Disconnect Between Business and IT
- Sunk Cost
- Demotivated Team
- Toxic Team Culture
- Finger-Pointing And Blaming
- Not My Problem Mentality
How to Implement the Feedback
Giving effective feedback is quite difficult. However, once you master the as a habbit, you can help your teams succeed.
1. Giving Feedback through Texts
Many executives feel that video conferences are the best way to give feedback. However, it is not always necessary. After dabbling in the developer communities on Reddit, we've found that many users prefer feedback through texts on Slack or other such applications.
When the feedback is small and doesn't criticize the work done so far, it is best to give it through small text messages. However, if the feedback is vital to the project and is difficult to convey through texts, go for a video conference.
When giving feedback through texts, it is essential to use the right words. Wording a sentence the right way can save you a ton of time when giving feedback. Be careful when you are using texts.
Sometimes, people perceive the text form as less valuable than the one-on-one meeting.
2. Personal Meeting
If the feedback is from a client or other executives at the company, it is best to arrange a video conference to give the feedback. In a face-to-face meeting, you can observe the recipients' body language and figure out how they feel about the feedback. During pandemics or in remote teams, video conferences substitute for one-on-one meetings.
Video communication also gives a chance to the developers to express their feelings about the feedback. You can sense if you are clearly understood. Texting can be just as good. However, it takes extra work to achieve the same level of understanding through texts.
Through video conferences, we can eliminate misunderstandings and make the next steps crystal clear.
3. Structure the Feedback Properly
If you're in the IT field, there is a good chance that you received vague feedback more than once. Unfortunately, what Devs receive from the clients is questionable or too indirect. When giving feedback, be clear about what you want to be changed or improved.
If the feedback is too indirect, the employee may not even realize what they have to do. In the worst cases, they may not even realize that it is feedback. Instead, they may see it as a casual chat and ignore the advice given to them.
On the other hand, if the feedback is too direct, it will drive the recipient to act defensively. As software engineers, we take pride in our work, and not everyone feels the same way about taking direct feedback.
When the feedback is positive, don't hesitate to praise the employee's work. However, when the feedback is negative, ensure that you are not too direct. One of the best ways to ensure that your feedback is received is by informing the team how you give feedback ahead of the project. Stress that feedback is a gift. Also, be sure to mention that you are open to taking feedback as well. Your goal is to create a feedback circle and promote an environment where negative feedback is taken and used for the good of the entire project.
4. Use the Situation, Behaviour, Impact (Sbi) Framework
One of the primary reasons feedback is often ineffective is the vagueness of the feedback. If you're afraid of being too vague or too direct, you can use the SBI framework to communicate your message. This framework ensures that the recipient of the feedback knows what you're talking about. Whether they decide to take any action on it is their choice.
The SBI framework is straightforward. When giving feedback, you refer to the situation, the behavior, and the impact the behavior in that situation had on your team. Let us see this framework in action with a small example.
Assume John Doe is a full-stack engineer in your team. During a meeting with the client, John got defensive when the client asked to change the design of the navbar. Now, when giving feedback to John, be specific. Mention the meeting with the client as the situation. Help John understand his behavior in that situation. Tell him the impact it had. In this case, it could be making the client feel uncomfortable.
5. Try to Be as Honest as Possible
Only give honest feedback to your developers. Remember, efficient feedback is the one that helps both your project and your workplace. If the feedback is negative, try not to sugarcoat it too much. Which doesn't mean you have to be blunt. Be polite and help the developer understand what they have to change or improve.
Receiving feedback is as essential as giving it. No one is perfect, and taking some feedback can help you grow to be a better developer. When receiving feedback, there are three things you must follow: be polite, be clear, be optimistic.
Try to appreciate any feedback, whether it is negative or positive. Good feedback is a gift for your growth. The person giving the feedback has nothing against you as a person and is only trying to help the project. If you don't think the feedback is valid for you, be as precise as possible. For instance, if you received some feedback on your behavior in a meeting with the client but you don't think the feedback is valid for you, tell the person you didn't notice this and that you will try not to repeat it in the future. Appreciate them for taking some time and trying to help you.
Be optimistic when receiving feedback. Try not to take the feedback personally and use it to help the project. Show your optimism about the feedback by using words like, I appreciate you taking your time to help me grow or I didn't realize I could do it this way. Thank you for informing me/letting me know.
If the feedback is too vague for you to follow, ask for additional remarks on the next steps with that feedback. You need to know what the manager expects from you when you receive feedback.
How to Ask for Feedback?
Managers like nothing more than an employee who voluntarily asks for feedback. Generally, managers schedule weekly or monthly meetings to give feedback. If that structure is not present at your workplace, you can always ask your manager directly for feedback.
When asking for feedback, be as specific as possible. For instance, you are looking for some feedback on your presentation to the client. Then, you ask: Hey, would you mind telling me what you think about my Monday presentation to X about the new shoes?
Being specific helps the managers give better feedback. Be careful how you plan to ask for feedback. Be sure that they have enough time for preparation. In DXHeroes, we usually ask five days before the meeting happens. Check if everything is working before you meet. After all, you don't want to take more time out of their day.
You can either choose to ask for feedback in a one on one meet or through texts. It depends on the dynamic at your workplace. When asking for feedback, take notes of everything the other person mentions.
Common Pitfalls of the Feedback
Even though feedback can be quite helpful in many situations, it does have its share of disadvantages. When the feedback is not delivered right, it may lead to a lot of confusion and misunderstandings. The reason feedback is usually ineffective is because it's often too indirect. You must identify the right feedback from the wrong and use it to improve yourself.