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I really value the importance of giving feedback. Our words are too powerful to impart things callously. I’ve seen people give feedback differently, and I think there’s no super perfect formula into giving it because people are so unpredictable and subjective. I adjust my approach, but what I always seek to maintain is to relay feedback in a constructive manner that helps a person move forward concretely.

A common argument against taking a very systematic and calculated approach is that we take away the directness of things. However, directness just isn’t an excuse to be an asshole. You can find balance into creating safe spaces , psychological safety , and being candid.

Guiding Principles

  1. Give feedback that is and think-forward.
  2. Seek to let people improve.
  3. Understand that everyone always has room for improvement!
  4. Focus on actions and results.
  5. Leave emotions out (but don’t be insensitive!).
  6. Stay growth-minded! 🍃

How I Give Feedback

I follow a three step approach into giving feedback.

  1. Highlight the assets of the work.
    • I believe the secret into making feedback that sticks and ultimately helps a person move forward is to build the relationship on mutual trust. First focusing on building rapport establishes this and catches a person’s attention.
    • How this looks like would be in the following:
      • “I like how you…”
  2. Relay the specific feedback constructively.
    • Words are powerful. Feedback may either motivate a person to do better or change a person’s mindset towards progressing in what they’re doing. Constructive criticsm is a manner in which are frank about what we want to criticize and relay it in a manner that is constructive, not destructive.
    • Seek to let the person understand where you’re coming from. This doesn’t have to be done explicitly
    • Instead of “This looks terrible…”, say “This has a lot of room for improvement, and we can work around it!"
  3. Suggest steps to move forward.
    • Be action-oriented in the feedback approach. I think concrete steps on how to move forward are better than suddenly taking over and micromanaging something. Letting people facilitate their own growth is a good way through actually doing something to improve promotes good team dynamics.
    • Specific steps also serve as a good jumpstart for people. Stay growth-minded!

When combined, this approach looks like this in a design team example:

Hi, Chloe! I recently came across your latest pubmat. I love how you adapted a new approach into combining the elements, plus your palette!. However, I think there are still ways in which we can improve the combination of fonts. Can you try Inter/ Montserrat here at this bottom part? I also suggest trying out this photo asset at this websitexyz. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Good Reads

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