When it comes to giving feedback, there are certain practices that can lead to success and others that can hinder the process.
“It’s your fault!” – this triggers so much when receiving feedback. Critiquing someone can go bad so easily.
Different people react to different things.
Do’s and Don’ts: Giving Effective Feedback
Here are some valuable do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you have to critique someone.
Do: Beware of the word “you”
People get defensive quite easily when they are the center of negative attention. We’re not saying to not use “you”, but sometimes it’s not necessary. If possible – express things from your perspective, using “I” statements. The person will feel less blamed.
Don’t: Use Extreme Language
Avoid using words like “always,” “never,” and “often”. These words generalize. You use them to put more weight on the argument, but what happens is you put more weight on the other person’s defense. And rarely it’s the case that someone always or never does something. Be specific in your observations and provide examples to support your points.
Don’t: Make Assumptions
You don’t know why a person behaves in a certain way. You have your observations that make you think like that, but remember that you can’t read their mind. Stick to the facts and describe the behavior you’ve observed without jumping to conclusions.
Do: Focus on Behavior, Not Character
The quickest and easiest way to critique is to put labels. That’s the most ineffective way if you want to actually be heard. Avoid using negative labels or making sweeping statements about someone’s personality. Instead, describe the behavior you’d like to address and work together on improving it.
Check out the gang’s tips on using “But” when giving feedback.
Practice giving feedback by playing with real scenarios taken from tech companies.