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Constructive Feedback 101

In case you ever need to give constructive feedback, here is a quick guide:

1) Check your own intentions first. It’s impossible for our intentions to be 100% good, but it should be mainly good in order to benefit the other person. Constructive feedback is never about pleasing the other person, but to will the good of the other.

2) Check your language, we are all humans and empathy in giving constructive feedback is important. Do not confuse empathy with manipulative language, what distinguishes the two is your main intention. Ask yourself: “who am I doing it for? The good of that person or to make myself look good?”

3) Thinking too negatively of a person can be dangerous, check first by using evidence from your memory. Selective memory is a common pit hole for all of us, thus, it would be great to have a work journal. Furthermore, if we think too negatively of a person, perhaps we are putting them down too much. This could also reveal our own pride and ego. In teamwork, it is rarely an issue of one person causing a problem, perhaps sometimes we ourselves are too afraid to call out that problem early on (maybe an unhealthy overly people pleaser attitude inside us too?).

4) If you think that your teammate has contributed almost nothing, check if whether it is because they were not given the opportunity to do work. Sometimes, people don’t take initiative because they are too scared to make a mistake, or maybe they expect someone to tank the work. We need to give them space to work, allowing opportunities for them to improve their own talents and skills.

5) Remember that everyone is a work in progress and so are we. Thus, when accepting constructive feedback know that it comes from a primarily good place and is meant to help you grow. However, if you think that the feedback is not appropriate for you, put it aside and read it when you are not overly controlled by emotions and can actively discern using past evidence.

Tldr: discern discern discern! Use evidence, not just pure “feelings”.

We recognize that this list of tips might be incomplete and that is okay because we too are a work in progress.


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