Demystifying feedback

2 minute read

I had the chance to attend an internal workshop on Giving & Receiving Feedback a few months ago and I found it excellent. I can’t recommend the topic enough!

One of the biggest realizations for me is how feedback doesn’t have to be this big and ominous word. It’s not something we should leave until we get that ping scheduled request once a year and then spend days with the thoughts consuming our mental capacity until we finally decide to block a whole afternoon to do it. At least that was my approach to it and I realize how I was making things harder than they need to be.

So I ask for your help to demystify feedback (team mates, friends or family). What do I mean by that? I would like to take the heaviness out of it and make it so natural we won’t even notice it when it’s happening. Let’s celebrate each other wins and let’s help each other when we make mistakes. We are human after all 🙂.

In the feedback workshop we used the Situation-Behaviour-Impact model. There is a lot of content online (here is a short article about it) but the gist of it can be seen with an example. Imagine I receive the following message in slack:

  • Situation: Leo, I was catching up on messages and stumbled upon your post about improving conversion rates for our business plan.
  • Behaviour: I noticed a very high use of the words lit and fam. There are 17 occurrences of them in two paragraphs.
  • Impact: I worry that an overuse of colloquialisms might detract from the message and even reflect poorly on the team as unprofessional.

If I see this kind of message I am going to thank you! It would be a great way to start a conversation on how, for instance, I am trying to communicate with a younger audience (and failing from the looks of it 😅). It also shows me that you care about me and have my best interests in mind. You want to help me be perceived in a professional way. I am not going to get upset and I would be super curious about it. I would love to learn more about your point of view!

The last example was about constructive feedback but the framework works great for positive feedback too:

  • Situation: Cait, I attended the presentation you did about our new data modelling layer.
  • Behaviour: The communication and examples you used were excellent. In particular the example about a cat being its own dimension.
  • Impact: It’s the first time I really understand this concept. I was really glad I could make it to the meeting and I am excited to give this modelling a try. So where do we go form here? let’s practice! We could start slowly. For instance, ask another team member if they are open for some feedback (this step might induce a little bit of anxiety, I know it does for me). Use this post as an excuse to practice 🙂. If you are open to receiving feedback, please let your team members know too!

I am very open to it and if you want to practice I will be more than happy to be your feedback buddy!

I really appreciate the feedback I get. It serves as positive reinforcement, it helps me find out some blindspots, it makes me revaluate some beliefs, it tells me that people care and it’s a great starting point for many conversations. Please do not hesitate to share it with me!