August 27

“True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” —Daniel Kahneman

Clear, candid feedback makes the collaborative process more efficient. Make sure you deliver it with empathy.

No one likes delivering uncomfortable feedback to a peer or team member. It’s difficult to look someone in the eyes and tell them that they’ve failed. However, candid feedback is necessary to build trust and ensure a healthy, well-functioning team.

When delivering feedback, ensure that you first turn the microscope on yourself. Were your expectations clear? Were they realistic? You cannot hold someone accountable for your own shortcomings.

Then, distinguish between effort feedback and execution feedback. Was the failure the result of a good idea poorly executed, or a bad idea well executed? If you are trying sufficiently difficult work, you will eventually fail in some way. However, failure of effort cannot be tolerated. This is the difference between a teaching moment (bad idea well executed) and a corrective moment (good idea poorly executed). 

Finally, always strive to be precise. “It’s just not working for me” is not good feedback. You should aim to be clear, even when you are not perfectly certain of the right approach. Your collaborators need to know which target they are aiming for.

Question: Is there any feedback you need to offer someone today, but have been avoiding?

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