Episode 89: Feedback Conversations at Work


May 3rd, 2023

29 mins 55 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Today we're talking about giving feedback at work.

In talking with managers at work, Liz encouraged people to ask their people how they wanted to get feedback and how to deliver news positive and negative.

Feedback, when given in a timely and kind manner, can be a gift. But often we forget key steps like finding out how someone likes to receive feedback or framing it in a way that makes sure your point is conveyed.

Feedback tip #1 is to make it as timely as possible. When you finish something, talk about what went well and what could do better. When you’re in a team reflect as a team and as a manager give feedback fairly and in a timely manner so the person can learn in the moment.

With performance reviews, if a manager doesn’t ask how you’d like to receive your review, for you to ask to see it up front (if that’s your preference). Ask for what you want/need in order to have the feedback discussion be as helpful as possible. Most managers will say yes, but if they don’t, you can say that you may not be as responsive or talkative because you need time to digest feedback to have the most impactful conversation.

How do you respond to a review that is a surprise? Ask for some time to digest and ask for a follow up meeting. Then take a minute to reflect and write down your responses. You can write an emotional response as long as you throw it away and write a fact-based response. You don’t want to come across as emotional or reactive.

Sometimes, if you believe a review is wrong or unfair, you need to consider the source and how much you respect their opinion on your performance. You thank them, respect their opinion, but then share your viewpoint and facts that back it up. Make your point with facts and evidence- be factual but not accusatory. The goal is to get closer aligned and share perception and meet in the middle.

What if your manager refuses to talk about your review? The answer is “ok, I was hoping we could talk about it.” and then you need to make a career decision….When you realize there won’t be a conversation, you get out of the conversation as quickly and calmly as possible. You can give the rebuttal to your HR person to make sure your viewpoint is filed.

What about less formal feedback? We talk about a friend whose boss unknowingly gave them really insulting feedback in front of peers. Our friend was LIVID and wanted to know what to do. We advised them to use the “When EVENT A happened I thought B and felt C” and to talk it though in the next 1:1. To then say that you know that’s not what they meant to do, and ask for them to give constructive feedback privately.

Tell people how you want to communicate in real time. If you like Slack, say so. Same w email. Saying something like “I’m most organized in email, so please communicate with me there” doesn’t put them on guard but helps them know how to work with you. Ask people their preferences and honor them and that will help you build relationships.

Your goal is to build real, authentic, kind working relationships and our communication style is on us to communicate.