Quick feedback is a integral part of Calm Leadership.
Most people hate feedback because their leaders either give it at random when they notice something they don't like or long after the fact during a monthly 1:1.
Feedback as part of the work
The best feedback is build into the work-processes. If you in any way can, you should do this as a leader. It is one of the most powerful things to prevent fires you have to put out later and frustrated team members.
The easiest is if you lead people who produce stuff like software, articles and other content. Loop yourself in as the editor-in-chief of your teams work to make sure you can stand behind everything your team produces. This is the easiest way to ensure your team live up to your standards and when this is a planned process your team is ready for feedback.
It also enables you to be fully accountable for your teams work if others criticize it. Nothing is worse than a leader that either sends the blame on to their team or is unaware of their teams work quality.
Steve Jobs was famous for never wanting to see any presentations - only product demos. He wanted to see and feel his teams work and that is a key reason to Apple being know for quality.
This is also why we in Workjoy has made feedback an integral step when delegating tasks or goals. When you have delegated a task or a goal to others and they complete it, it is looped back to you for feedback and review before it can be completed.
If you have feedback for a colleague that don't fit a work loop, make sure to share it with them quickly.
Nothing erodes a culture like people holding things back and letting them build up - or even worse tell others instead of the person who can act on it. Another culture rot is ruinous empathy where people - out of empathy - don't share their feedback and thus prevents their colleagues from learning and growing. We have written more about this in the chapter about being long-term empathetic.
Quick and direct feedback is thus the only and right thing to do if you truly care about helping others.
But quick feedback is unexpected and should therefore be given carefully. Though it might be tempting to do so in person (and it is sometimes the right thing to do) written feedback gives people the option to better understand, reflect and grow (see the chapter on why writing is a superpower).
This is our approach for giving feedback outside of the work-loop:
- Is it truly sensitive then say it in person but follow up in writing.
- Write down you feedback as advice for your colleague. What did they do, what would you recommend they do instead. Be friendly and helpful.
- Go away from your feedback for a few minutes before reading it again - is it as clear as you want? If not, rewrite.
- If applicable share the feedback with your colleagues manager as well - it is their job to help them grow.
It is never nice to get this feedback in your regular email or chat when you try to do work so we have build a dedicated feedback tool to help anyone give feedback the best way and for recipients to read and reflect on their own time.