How to Give Feedback to Coworkers

How to Give Feedback to Coworkers

This week’s podcast is about managing your boss so that you get the quantity and type of feedback you need to do your job to the very best of your ability.

Let’s talk about how you can give feedback to your coworkers. This is a tremendous opportunity for you to begin to exercise your leadership muscle at work. It can also enhance your work relationships if done correctly. Further, well-placed feedback can allow your coworkers to improve their work performance.

Here are five tips for giving feedback to coworkers:

  1. Catch ’em doing good. And be specific.

Spontaneous praise can be an incredibly effective tool, much more so than praising them a week later when they’ve forgotten the situation.

Your praise isn’t coming from the same place as a supervisor, because that’s not your role. Rather, you are admiring your coworker.

  1. Be specific.

“Wow, you just blew me away with how you calmly handled that customer’s complaint” or “I was so impressed by how you handled the questions after your presentation” will be so much more helpful than a more generic “You have great customer service skills.”

The same is true with constructive criticism; if you are truly trying to help the other person, being specific is the only way to get there.

  1. Ask permission to give constructive feedback.

Let’s say your coworker didn’t handle an interaction with a customer well and you have a good idea for how they could have managed the situation better.

Your role is not to be a know-it-all, and you’re not the boss, so you want to tread carefully here.

You might try something like “Wow, that was a tough one, wasn’t it. Would you like an idea for how to tackle that if it comes up again?”

Your position within the organization relative to the other person’s position is important to consider here. If they’ve been in the department for five years and you’ve been there for five minutes, they’re not likely to want to hear your feedback.

If, however, you’ve been there much longer than they have, they may actually welcome you sharing a bit of time-earned wisdom with them.

  1. Come from a place of concern and compassion.

Reacting from a place of anger or frustration is never a good idea. If you approach the feedback out of concern for the other person and compassionate understanding that no one is perfect, your comments will be much more likely to be well-received.

  1. Do it privately.

Praise and constructive criticism are best done in private. Although many people like to be publicly praised, there are those for whom public recognition is extremely uncomfortable.

As for criticism…I know of no one who wants that aired in public.

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Don't miss a moment of Lesa Edwards' Exclusive Career Coaching podcasts. This weekly podcast covers all things career management including job search strategies, interviewing tips, networking tools, maximizing LinkedIn, salary negotiations, and managing your mindset around your career.