Giving Feedback to Colleagues: Examples & Best Practices
When it comes to giving feedback to colleagues, there’s both an art and a science to getting it right. They’re not your boss but they’re also not your employees; they’re your peers, which puts them in a feedback category all their own. The following examples can help you fine-tune your delivery (that’s the art), while these best practices can help you ace the science of giving feedback to colleagues.
Timing Is Everything
In life we’re taught to see something, say something—but when? Interrupt your colleague during a meeting with feedback and, well, that’s just rude. Wait until the details are forgotten, and that’s a missed opportunity. Bottom line: Don’t wait too long to offer feedback to colleagues. The right time is probably within a day to week of an issue arising, and when you (ideally, both of you) can dedicate your full attention to a productive, respectful conversation.
Example: “I have some thoughts on the report you presented at yesterday’s meeting. I think you’ve presented a strong case and the client is going to be impressed—it’s clear to me that you’ve worked hard. But I think it could be even stronger if you made a few adjustments. Here’s what I had in mind. What do you think?”
Extend the Invitation
“Can we talk?” Talk about a gulp-inducing statement. When giving feedback to colleagues, it’s important to get their permission, but don’t leave them hanging that they start creating a doomsday scene in their head. Instead, give them a mini preview of what your feedback is about. This has the added benefit of letting them reflect on the issue, which can lead to a more effective feedback session.
Example: “I have some feedback for you after Tuesday’s team meeting that I think could be helpful before our next one. Do you have time to talk about it now, or should we schedule something for later today or tomorrow?”
Be Specific—With What and Why
Feedback shouldn’t be based on vibes alone. Don’t deliver “I feel” statements without concrete data points or examples of your colleague’s behavior to supplement them. To be effective, state facts—and stick to the most relevant and timely ones. It’s also key to explain to your colleague why you believe the feedback matters.
Example: “I didn’t receive the recap report on Wednesday, and this morning I wasn’t copied on the email to the board. I know there are so many of us on the team, but because this project has such a tight timeline, it’s really important that I’m included so that I stay up to date on everything going on.”
Giving Feedback to Colleagues Is a Two-Way Street
Structure your feedback so that it prompts a response from your colleague. This could give them a chance to clarify their actions or behavior to you. Or, it can give them a chance to give you some constructive feedback, as well. The best way to stimulate a two-way conversation when giving feedback to colleagues is by closing with a question—one that is positive and open-ended.
Example: “Thanks for listening to my concerns. What do you think this process should look like moving forward? How can we improve it so that we all stay better informed without adding to your workload?”
Harness the Power of Giving Feedback to Colleagues
Teamwork and feedback go hand in hand. Strong teams don’t shy away from feedback; instead, they know that by giving and receiving feedback, they will only grow stronger.
Teams of all sizes benefit from G360 Surveys’ easy-to-use feedback tools. From pulse surveys to team surveys that can be customized to the needs of any team, let one of our 360 feedback survey options help strengthen your team today.