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Feedback when you're not the boss

In theory, feedback is an effective way of learning and improving. In practice, even when well intended, we respond emotionally to criticism which makes it difficult to improve ourselves and others. Whilst feedback from your boss is often interpreted as an evaluation, it is even harder not to have the message lost in translation when giving and receiving feedback to and from peers and colleagues. A lot has been written about giving and receiving feedback but here are some recent articles focused on feedback when you're not the boss.

In 'How to coach team mates', Justin Rosenstein and Carly Schwartz highlight the impact of coaching on not only the coachee but also on his teammates. Their article talks about how advice can block learning and instead of advice, listening and probing teaches people to think for themselves.

Ed Batista is a very experienced coach himself and in his article "Deference kills coaching" he warns that status can interfere with coaching. We often find comfort in pecking orders and create hierarchy around us, but it creates deference. Either we defer or we expect others to defer to us. That inhibits us saying what we truly think and not much meaningful is being accomplished in such conversations. Batista suggests some steps to reduce or eliminate deference. His article highlights how difficult it is between two people in a reporting relationship, but how necessary it is to discourage deference to have that effective conversation.

Ken Blanchard advocates in his latest blog about "How to Lead" feedback as a tool for leadership when performance is down. Rather than charging in, it's worthwhile as an organisation or team to gather together and determine what might be causing that drop. Usually, leaders get great feedback from the people, which helps them to develop new strategies and tactics and get the team back on track.

In "How to provide great feedback when you're not in charge" Farnham Street's latest blog distinguishes between three kinds of feedback: appreciation, advice and evaluation, each describing a different motivation for the feedback. The post has some useful examples and pointers how to give great feedback. One of these pointers is: "As leader, you want to create an environment where feedback is shared in a helpful and useful way. A good way of doing that is not only giving feedback, but to take some as well."

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