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How to give feedback to your peers

I was facilitating a session on “How to give feedback” to a group of leaders recently.

In this session, I shared a model that leaders can use to give feedback in a clear and direct manner.

One of the participants asked me, “Vanessa, can we use this model to give feedback to a peer?”

I paused.

I had to really think about how to answer this question appropriately.

My answer required some thought because, in my opinion, giving feedback to a direct report is very different than providing feedback to a peer.

Would you agree?

When someone reports to you, it is your job to provide direct feedback so they can grow and develop.

With a peer, your relationship is collaborative; hence, many people avoid giving feedback to one another. But we all know that when feedback is avoided, the conflict or bad behaviour only festers or grows.

So, after some thought, I suggested to my client that she use a different approach with her peer.

I suggested that she make a request rather than give feedback to this person.

I wrote the following on the whiteboard:

Peer Feedback Strategies

I wrote the following on the whiteboard: 

  • Can I make a suggestion?
  • Would it be okay if…
  • That way…

In this case, my client’s peer was crafting the weekly team meeting agenda without her input.

So, her request would be:

  • Can I make a suggestion? 
  • Would it be okay if… we connected every Monday morning and crafted our meeting agenda together?
  • That way… we ensure that our agenda items are included each week.

Typically, your peers are taking action to move things forward.

Their intention is well-meaning, even though it may annoy or bother you.

Rather than harbouring ill feelings towards this person…take the high road!

Make a request that will fix your issue so that you can move forward respectfully and collaboratively. 

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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