On Giving and Receiving Feedback

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult soft skills to develop. And though I don't claim to be an expert on the topic, here are some simple rules that worked well for me.

Giving feedback

  1. Don’t delay giving feedback
  2. Avoid anonymous feedback — It feels fake and dishonest.
  3. Always give it in private
  4. Actively prepare for one-on-one meetings
  5. Write down questions you want to ask
  6. Give concrete examples
  7. Deliver the bad news
  8. Avoid shit sandwich — It does not work. It feels dishonest.
  9. Explain why you deliver given feedback“I believe you can be great…, because …” is better than just dry feedback. But you also have to mean it, don't be fake.

When asking for a feedback

  1. Get well with receiving difficult feedback — It's the view of the person delivering it.
  2. Ask specific questions — Generic questions lead to generic answers.
  3. Ask for advice rather than feedback — People tend to talk more when they are asked for advice. And it does not have a negative tone to it.

Other “hacks”

  1. “When you do X, it makes me feel like Y” — Feels more genuine.
  2. As a leader or manager always explain your decisions — No matter if you incorporated received feedback or ignored it. People want to know why.