Receiving feedback

Giving feedback can be a tricky affair, as I discussed manymany times. But no matter how kind, objective and careful one is, it is always harder for the person receiving it. It requires composure and discipline to remain calm. To really listen to what the other person is telling us and above all empathise with their side. If the feedback is unfair, or harsh, waiting ten seconds before reacting does wonders. It bypasses the knee-jerk mechanism we all have. Something to notice is from whom the feedback is coming from - it matters a lot.

Receiving feedback from your manager is an expectation. If you aren’t receiving any, you should ask for it. But because it is an expectation, the invitation is already made. Your manager knows it’s one of their duties to do so. Receiving feedback from peers is uncommon from my experience. The only meaningful feedback I got from peers was at Babylon - after building relationships for a good couple of years. But I was also at fault. Only after some time I started to give feedback to people that didn’t report to me, like PMs and designers. I am not sure what’s the root cause of this behaviour. The culture of the company, that doesn’t encourage giving meaningful feedback; or in me, for not doing it by my own volition. My favourite feedback is from people that I manage. At the very least it means we have the necessary conditions to be honest with each other. There are no concerns of retaliation - which is something in past roles I was afraid of. Saying the wrong thing and losing my job, or a potential promotion. I have had situations where a report would give me something tough to think through. And of course when I received it was difficult to hear it and I became defensive. But many years later the only thing that remains is not even the feedback I got - I can’t even remember specifics. Rather how comfortable the person was during the conversation.

That has to count for something.