What happens when you have a team that’s obsessed with data and learning? You get public webinars that hit close to home and ongoing internal discussions about insights that strike a cord. Oh, and these informal blog articles that help the team consciously and collaboratively build the team culture!

During our ShockwaveTalks with Notion’s Gabby Hoyos, we discussed building trust in the workplace and particularly for remote teams (Erudit is 100% remote!). During the dynamic discussion, Diego from the audience asked, “How do you give negative feedback when you don’t like the way someone works?”

Flashbacks working with my previous team came pouring in. I previously worked as Design Lead in the banking industry for almost 4 years—4 years consciously building a feedback-obsessed culture!  This is my attempt at consolidating all my learnings about giving and, perhaps more importantly, receiving feedback in the workplace based on two decades working in design, which is intrinsically exposed to and reliant on feedback.

The Basics of Feedback

💬 So what does good feedback look like? Direct and honest, but caring.

🎯 What is the main objective? A change in behavior that leads to improvement.

For example, if a feedback is hostile and it’s not aimed at a positive outcome, does this make the recipient want to change their behavior? Wouldn't it be more effective to challenge people with caring?

"Your presentations are very confusing.”

"When you presented XYZ the other day, I found it hard to follow. It would be great to have a summary of the highlights from the beginning.”

Feedback is one of the most powerful tools you can use to grow yourself and your team. But giving good feedback and receiving it in the right way is not easy. We've all received and given 💩 feedback at one time or another. So here are some tips I try to keep in mind when giving feedback.

"Whatever communication and feedback technique you use, you can always be kind.

11 Tips for Giving Feedback at Work

  1. Create an environment where feedback is given and accepted openly and without bitterness. It is essential to create a safe space. Everyone needs to agree to ground rules and to the concept of giving and receiving feedback on a regular basis.
  2. For managers and “feedback givers”, set expectations at the beginning: explain what a great job looks like compared to a mediocre or a bad job.
  3. Give behavioral feedback in a thoughtful and regular way. It’s best to share behavioral feedback in person so the receiver can engage in a conversation.
  4. It is not about the person, it is about the specific performance or behavior at a specific time. Give concrete examples whenever possible and give suggestions.
  5. Give task-specific feedback while the action is still fresh, and as frequently as you can.
  6. Ask for feedback from peers, managers, and individual contributors. How long has it been since you proactively asked for feedback?
  7. For managers, collect 360-degree feedback on the recipient for maximum objectivity.
  8. Feedback is given in private if negative, public if positive. If you give negative feedback in public, make it for the team as a whole and avoid fake anonymity.
  9. When you receive feedback, be grateful and listen first. Focus on looking for opportunities to improve yourself, not to defend yourself. It isn’t easy to give feedback. The person giving you feedback cares about you, took the time and care to choose their words wisely. If they didn’t care, they would just ignore the situation.
  10. Positive feedback is important as well, it allows people to know their strengths better and continue to apply them. And when you receive positive feedback, don't be embarrassed and don’t diminish its value or say it was a team effort. Accept it, be thankful for it, and own it!
  11. There are always two sides (or more) to every story. When giving feedback, don’t think that makes you the owner of the truth. Always listen and be open to the honest reaction to your feedback.

6 Resources to Give Feedback Like the Best Leaders

How do you give feedback when you don’t like the way someone works?

So, going back to Diego’s question during our ShockwaveTalks webinar: How do you give feedback when you don’t like the way someone works? We loved Gabby’s answer! It’s a great way to sum up everything you need to know about giving feedback.

"Whatever communication and feedback technique you use, you can always be kind.

Because when you choose to be kind, in any situation, and when coworkers see that your goal isn’t righteousness or power but the growth and improvement of the team, your feedback is listened to, appreciated, and internalized.

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