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Feedback Guidelines

How to Ask For Feedback:

 

1.     Explain why you’re seeking their feedback in order to motivate a response

eg. “I think we did a great job as a team, but there’s always room for improvement.  Can we take a few minutes and help give each other some feedback before the next assignment?”

eg. “I am not trying to fish for compliments.  I genuinely care about being aware of my gaps, and working to improve myself.”

eg. “I have always relied on feedback from my peers to find ways for me to grow.  I am very comfortable receiving constructive criticism, so there’s no need to sugar coat things if you have any suggestions for how I can be a better teammate.”

 

2.     Be specific about what you want feedback on

eg. “I would love to hear your thoughts about the ____ project.  Specifically, I’m curious to know whether I was dominating the group discussions too much with my own thoughts and not giving other folks an opportunity to contribute.”

eg. “I know we ran into some issues at the start of the project.  Was there anything I could’ve done differently that would’ve gotten us back on track more quickly?”

 

3.     Know when to ask:  Feel free to ask feedback at any time you feel that you need it.  But there is often an optimal window to ask for feedback immediately at the end of a short project, or a few weeks into a longer project.  If you ask for it too early, your teammates may not have picked up enough information to help you.  If you wait too long, details about your work and contributions may fade from their memory.

 

4.     Know how often to ask:  Writing a meaningful, actionable, and thoughtful feedback can take a lot of times.  If you ask the same person for feedback too frequently it may be too much of a burden, but if you ask too infrequently, you may miss important opportunities to benefit from their feedback.  Look for opportunities where you think your peer would have something new to share with you.

 

5.     Know who to ask:  Pick people who you’ve worked with (especially if you will likely work with them again), who will give you a thoughtful and honest feedback, and who cares about your personal development and continued improvement.  This may be your boss, your teammates, your coach, or your audience members from a workshop or presentation.

 

6.     Follow-up and remind:  Often times, even when you follow steps 1-5, the other person may not follow through when other priorities arise.  Remember to circle back reemphasize that you care about hearing their feedback.

eg. “Let me know whether you have time to give me some feedback by this weekend, or if you need more time.”

eg. “I realize this is a busy time for you, but I would really value your thoughts on this so that I can be a better teammate next time we work together.”

 

 

 

How to Provide Feedback:

 

0.     Ask for permission:  This not an issue for PeerLoop, since the only way you can provide someone feedback is if they asks you for it.  Outside of PeerLoop, ask before you give, so that you know whether the person you’re writing to is actually receptive to hearing your feedback. 

eg. “May I offer you some feedback about ____?”

 

1.     Be specific and explain both their contribution and the impact that it had

eg. “I was very impressed with the way you ____, because it really helped to ____.”

eg. “I noticed that you neglected to ____, and as a result, I am concerned that ____.”

Especially for negative feedback, try to focus on the actions rather than the intent/attitude/character.

 

2.     Focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past

The goal of your feedback is to offer insights and suggestions that would help the receiver improve themselves as an individual and as a teammate.  Help them find the key learnings and takeaways from what happened in this project so that they can apply it to future projects.

eg. “Perhaps in the future, you may consider taking the initiative to ____.”

eg. “If we ever get into another situation where ____, it would be helpful for the group if you can ____.”

 

3.     Write it now, unless you’re angry:  It’s always good to write the feedback while everything is still fresh in your memories.  The only time you might want to wait would be if you’re angry with the other person.  Wait until you can think more clearly, calmly, and objectively.  The goal is to persuade and help the reader improve, and they may be more reluctant to accept your help if they sense hostility, resentment, and judgment from your feedback.

 

4.     Be honest, sincere, and empathetic:  With PeerLoop, your peer is sending you this request because they want to improve themselves and they want to hear what you think.  And hopefully, you’re writing them this feedback because you care about them and their efforts to grow and develop.  It’s not always easy to give that honest feedback, but hopefully the frameworks within PeerLoop and some of the tips above can help.

(check out this video by the author of Radical Candor – Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Personality:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFgu0nOHCcE)

 

5.     Stay positive:  PeerLoop is designed to help frame your feedback in a more balanced format.  Recognize that you may be able to help your peer as much by reinforcing good behavior as well as fixing bad behavior.  Acknowledging what they’re doing well and explaining why that’s such an important contribution may be just as valuable as pointing out where they can improve.

 

 

 

How to Respond to Feedback:

Often times it’s useful to meet and talk about talk feedback in person, where you can ask clarifying questions, get a better sense of the tone, and develop a plan of action together.

 

1.     Be receptive and listen carefully.  Don’t argue and don’t get upset.  Don’t interrupt and don’t try to respond or explain why something went the way that it did.  Get all of the information and make sure you have a good understanding of it.  You can judge whether you agree and whether it’s relevant later.

 

2.     Acknowledge the other person’s perspective by summarizing and echoing back your understanding of their feedback/suggestion

eg. “I’m glad that you liked ____.”

eg. “I didn’t realize that ____.”

eg. “I can see that ____.”

 

3.     Ask for further details if necessary

eg. “Can you give me an example of what you mean about ____.

eg. “I’m not sure I completely understand ____.”

eg. “Where exactly do you think I went off track and what would’ve worked better?”

 

4.     Work together to jointly develop a plan for future action

eg. “So I think what you’re suggesting is that I should focus on ____?”

eg. “For our next project, my goal would be to ____.”

eg. “Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve the way I ____?”

 

5.     Thank the other person for their feedback

eg. “Thank you for taking the time to give me this feedback.”

eg. “This is very helpful for me because ____.”

eg. “Would it be ok for me to follow up with you in a few weeks about ____?”

 

6.     Keep feedback in perspective.  Keep in mind that this is just one data point from one individual.  Get as many data points as you can in order to get the full picture, and keep track of how they change over time in order to track your progress.

 

7.     Give them feedback on their feedback (what was most useful about it, and why) so that they can improve their ability to give insightful/actionable/meaningful feedback in the future.