Ongoing feedback is crucial to organisational success and team success. Feedback is an essential leadership skill. Providing constructive feedback in the workplace will help improve performance and productivity. And if given effectively and taken positively, it also helps build strong work relationships, a healthy work environment and stronger teams.
Giving peer-to-peer feedback in the workplace is different from the regular manager-to-employee reviews and a little scary. Although it is less formal, it can be more difficult and threatening to provide feedback to a colleague or peer of equal standing. The fears that a business manager experiences, when giving feedback to another manager, seems to double.
Given that peer to peer feedback is important, is part of your role and part of workplace communication, what can we do to make it easier and less fearful? Here are 6 ideas to consider when delivering peer to peer feedback.
- Delivering your feedback.
Just as you would give feedback to an employee or subordinate, you need to plan and think about how you will deliver feedback to your peers. Some managers like direct feedback, while others prefer a more gentle and casual conversation. Whatever style you choose to deliver your feedback, it is important that the other person take it positively and as constructive feedback.
- Your goal in giving feedback.
What is your goal in providing this peer-to-peer feedback? Why do you need to have this discussion? Focus on your goal and make it clear to the other person what you want to achieve. Providing examples can help the other person understand and take the feedback positively.
- Asking for permission.
This is not a scheduled or planned employee review or performance discussion. Asking for permission from your peer before delivering your feedback helps set the tone of the conversation. How you ask for permission will prepare the other person to receive the feedback positively.
- Tone of voice.
To help prevent the other person from getting defensive and feeling under attack or feel they are being criticised, use a calm and approachable voice. Addressing the action and not the person makes it easier for your peer to focus on the feedback and not take it personally.
- Respect and honesty.
These are two aspects you need to remember all throughout the conversation. You need to be more respectful and considered when giving feedback to a peer than when you are giving feedback to your employee. Remember that the other person is not used to receiving feedback from you. Being respectful, honest, clear, and specific with your feedback will help establish a positive atmosphere that will help the other person take the feedback positively.
- The other person’s situation.
Giving feedback to a peer is a two-sided conversation. You need to allow the other person to communicate with you what the reasons are for their actions or behaviour. Remember what your goal is in giving the feedback to help you encourage the person into resolving the situation.
Giving peer-to-peer feedback is something every organisation and business manager should be doing. It is an opportunity to grow professionally for both parties involved. If you want to learn more about giving and receiving feedback, I provide a 1 day in house communication skills training on Giving and Receiving Feedback.
I am also running the Real Leadership for Women Masterclass in Perth on 22-23 November with Kylah Morrison, where we will talk about giving and receiving feedback and other leadership skills.