How to Give Great Feedback

Read more by Nick Fassler

Nick Fassler is the Founder and CEO at Thrively. Nick is a growth hacker, aspiring front-end designer and developer, and sustainable MBA. He’s worked at two startups and as an online marketer for nonprofits and green businesses.

2 min read

The following is a guest post provided by Nick Fassler, Founder and CEO of Thrively.  Thrively makes it extremely simple to give or request feedback from anyone with an email address. In this blog post, written by Emily Mahood Bowman, startup founders are provided with advice and tips on giving feedback. This article was originally posted on the Thrively blog here.

While most of us know that feedback is important to learning–especially on the job front–exactly how to share feedback is a different story. Being critical of someone or their work has been known to start a feud or two, so making sure you deliver less-than stellar news in a positive and constructive way is key.

When you’re the one doling out feedback, consider the following tips:

  • Keep it relevant. As much as you might want to share your opinion on your cube-mate’s cologne, stick to feedback that is relevant to the work at hand. Straying outside the line of TPS reports is a sure way to alienate your colleague and make your job tougher. Share critical or constructive feedback on the work itself… and always with the aim of creating a better team.
  • Don’t wait around. Despite the delay we’ve come to accept with traditional performance reviews, feedback is best when it’s fresh. So don’t wait around when you’ve got something to share that can help a colleague improve.
  • Be prepared. As any spousal argument will tell you, speaking in generalities will get you nowhere fast. When you’re sharing feedback, especially if it’s of a critical nature, be sure you back it up with facts and check your own assumptions. Specific examples help the receiver understand that your feedback isn’t just being pulled out of you-know-where and you’re genuinely trying to help.
  • Add a spoonful of sugar. Take a tip from Mary Poppins and add a little spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Although knowing what needs improvement is critical to getting better at our jobs, it’s also important to know what we’re doing right. So with each critical comment you share, make sure you are also including positive feedback to help take the sting out.

While we can’t guarantee that your feedback will always be accepted with grace, following these tips will help ensure that you don’t come off looking like a jerk when giving critical feedback to your colleagues.

What are your best practices for giving feedback? Tell us in the comments.

Want to learn more about @thrively? Connect with Nick on Twitter @nickfassler

Read more by Nick Fassler

Nick Fassler is the Founder and CEO at Thrively. Nick is a growth hacker, aspiring front-end designer and developer, and sustainable MBA. He’s worked at two startups and as an online marketer for nonprofits and green businesses.

Comments 4

  1. I think that there is a fine line between being professional and
    treating someone like their designated title. It can be easy to forget
    that the people you work with aren’t just founders, developers, hackers
    and coders all the time. I like your thought of adding a a little sugar
    or sweetness to communication, it can help soften relationships and
    create a good working environment for everyone.

  2. Nick – sometimes the basics are worth revisiting. Also very relevant to what fn is all about ~ peer mentorship. Thanks for posting this.

  3. “Despite the delay we’ve come to accept with traditional performance reviews, feedback is best when it’s fresh.” I can’t imagine how people expect you to grow professionally if they let you continue to make mistakes. Telling someone, with constructive feedback, what the problem is right away will save a lot of time, frustration and effort.

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