Giving good feedback to peers is one of the most challenging parts of being a manager. It's not easy and it takes practice, but if you want to help foster a strong work environment where people feel safe taking risks and improving their performance, then it's worth doing right. We're going to walk through how best to give effective peer-to-peer feedback that supports growth and development.
Make it specific.
There are many ways to give feedback, but the best way is specific.
When giving feedback, it's important not to generalize or make assumptions about what your coworker might have been thinking or doing. Instead of saying "You should have done X instead," try saying "I would have done Y because Z." The more specific you can be with your criticism and praise, the better!
Avoid being vague in your comments by providing concrete examples of what you like or don't like about their work product or process. For example: "I really enjoyed working with you on this project because you were so patient when explaining things." Or "This part was confusing because it wasn't clear if we were supposed to do A first or B first."
Give feedback in the moment.
Feedback is a gift and should be given when it's needed most, not when you have time on your hands or are trying to get rid of some negative energy. The best time to give feedback is as soon as possible, while it's still fresh in your mind.
- Do not wait until there is an issue before giving someone feedback; this shows that you don't trust them enough to handle anything on their own without help from above (you). If there was something that bothered me about one of my peers, I would usually mention it right away so we could discuss it together instead of letting things stew until later when emotions were high and tension was high too!
Make sure feedback is about behavior, not personality.
You might be tempted to give feedback that is personal, but that's not the best way to go about it. Remember, your goal is to help your colleague improve their performance. For example:
- "You are always late." This statement makes assumptions about why someone may be late and also implies that being on time is an expectation of yours--a very high one at that! It's better instead to say something like this: "It would be helpful if we could meet at 9AM every Monday morning instead of 10AM because then I won't feel rushed when I come into work."
- "You should spend more time working on your presentation skills so people will take you seriously." This is another example of making assumptions about a person's abilities or motivations based on what they look like or where they come from (in this case Asian), rather than focusing on specific behaviors related directly back into work performance itself
Don't assume you know what's going on for someone else.
When you give feedback to a peer, you have to remember that you don't know everything about them. This means asking open-ended questions and listening carefully. You can ask what they think they could do differently, or if they agree with your assessment of their work--but be careful not to assume anything!
Focus on what's working with an alternative to pointing out what's not working.
When you're giving feedback to a peer, it's important to focus on what's working and give an alternative to the problem. For example:
- "I like the way you handled that situation with your team members."
- "You did a great job of communicating with me about what was going on with this project."
- "I appreciated how quickly and thoroughly you responded when I asked for help last week."
Give feedback that is positive and constructive
When you're giving feedback to a peer, it's important to focus on what the person can do differently and improve. For example, instead of saying "you need to work harder," say something like "you should work harder." Focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past.
Also, make sure you give clear intentions when giving feedback--don't expect your teammate or coworker to guess why they are being talked-to by another person! It's okay if they don't know exactly what was wrong or right; just tell them directly so that there are no misunderstandings between both parties involved in this conversation: yourself (the giver) and whoever else (the receiver).
You should also try using open questions when asking questions during an informal conversation such as this one: "How could I have handled myself better?" Not only will these types of queries encourage others' participation in an otherwise monologue-like exchange between two individuals but also helps keep things lighthearted while still keeping everyone accountable for their actions at work/school environments."
Giving feedback to peers is a great way to help them improve, but it can also be a difficult process. It's important that you keep in mind the tips we've outlined here and remember that there's no right or wrong way to give feedback! The most important thing is that both parties feel comfortable with their roles--you as the giver and receiver--so make sure before beginning any conversation that both sides are ready for what comes next.