Whenever you’re writing a feedback, remember that there is a human being on the other side who’ll be reading it.

That’s obvious you’d say, right?

But, in my experience, that’s exactly what I see people forgetting most of the time.

Don’t write anything you’d not tell the person if you’re speaking with her in person.

And now to make it human, think about what makes something human?

It must be kind, uplifting and empathetic.

I usually send the draft to myself and read it as if I had got that feedback from someone.

Then, I ask myself –

Does it make me feel slightly better reading it or slightly worse?

If the answer is tending towards slightly worse, I’d trash it and completely rephrase it.

Now, obviously not all the people in the team are the world’s best performers and I certainly don’t mean that you should create a bed of roses for the person. That looks very fake and people get that too. At best, the person will discard it, and worst case, he will stop trusting you completely if you did that.

The key is to remain genuine. Say what’s true in a way that is positive and helps the person improve and enhance in his career. No one is perfect and that pleases the people most if if someone has a keen interest and observation about what they’re doing well and what would improve them further as an individual.

It’s also natural to first think of negatives in other people (where as we tend to give ourselves a huge allowance) and that’s exactly what One Minute Manager (I love that book!) means when it says ” “Help people reach their full potential: catch them doing something right.” 

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The One Minute Manager: Ken Blanchard

For example, here a typical feedback I’d write for a colleague:

Continue to be flexible in your work timings and availability which has been tremendous given the need of the hour to support a challenging project, where teams are involved from multiple geographies including Sydney and Houston. Your contribution in working weekends as well is much appreciated.

Continue to be committed to your ownership, and doing what it takes to delivery the desired outcomes for the customer.

Continue delivering well using your great technology skills and continue on the path to continuously enhance technology skills.

Continue to be a reliable team player who has been open and highly receptive to feedback and has taken it positively and brought about changes which are clearly visible.

In order to grow and be more effective in your role, I’d suggest you to consider putting focus on being more organized with your work and communication . Some focused trainings, seeking guidance and gathering ongoing feedback to measure how you’re progressing might be some ways to achieve that.

Overall, it’s been great working with you and I look forward to celebrating more successes together. Wish you all the best and continued success.

Well, if I got that feedback, it would make me feel loved and positive. What about you?

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