18 Tips for Giving Effective Peer Feedback

How to Give Constructive Peer Feedback
  • Prepare. Before you even say a word to your coworker, identify the goals of your conversation. …
  • Avoid the “Feedback Sandwich” …
  • Do It Early but Don’t Catch Them Off Guard. …
  • Don’t Attack or Insult. …
  • Be Clear. …
  • Be Specific. …
  • Don’t Tell Them They’re Wrong. …
  • Use Non-Judgmental Language.

The secret to giving great feedback | The Way We Work, a TED series

Importance of giving feedback to peers

One of the best ways to determine one’s professional strengths and weaknesses is through feedback. You can concentrate your efforts on strengthening your weak areas to increase productivity at work once you are aware of the areas in which you excel and those in which you could improve. Historically, managers have provided feedback to employees most frequently, but there is a growing trend to make it a peer-to-peer activity.

It’s advantageous for both of you if you give your peers feedback on how they are doing at work. It enables you to formally identify important areas of your field and engage in communication, and it provides your peer or peers with useful insight into how they can advance their work.

Tips for giving feedback to peers

Considering what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it can make the experience positive for everyone involved when you’re getting ready to give feedback to your peers. To ensure that your next peer feedback session is as successful and receptive as possible, take into account the following advice:

1. Provide feedback with good intent

Make it clear to your colleague that you are giving them constructive criticism in an effort to help them become more effective at work. Make sure that your body language and tone reflect this so that your coworker feels supported and at ease as you offer them your constructive criticism.

2. Participate in a regular review process

You’ll be better at giving constructive criticism when peer reviews are more common and accepted, and your peers will be better at taking it when you do. If your team or workplace does not already have a consistent and formalized peer review process, talk to your team leader or manager about establishing one.

3. Prepare ahead of time

Prepare for the meeting in advance if you are in charge of giving feedback to a peer. Make a list of the specific points you want to make, then write out how you’ll share them. Give examples if you can, and think about suggesting ways to make the area of focus better.

4. Know how your peer best accepts feedback

Not everyone enjoys receiving criticism in the same way. While some of your peers might prefer a more gentle approach with suggestions and guidance for improvement, others might prefer the challenge of learning what skills they can improve from straightforward, constructive criticism. Before your peer feedback meeting, speak with your coworker and find out how they prefer to receive constructive criticism to ensure both your comfort and theirs.

5. Lead with feedback and follow with strengths

Prior to mentioning any strengths in your peer feedback session, share your constructive criticism. After you’ve addressed the criticism, highlight the positive aspects of your coworker’s performance. Try, if you can, to either equally balance the criticism with the compliments or lean your conversation toward the compliments.

6. Advocate for a growth mindset

Constructive criticism can have a significant impact on how you or your peers respond. A “fixed” mindset is when all of your attention is on how something will turn out. The fixed mindset views the entire endeavor as a failure if the person fails in their attempt. A “growth” mindset, on the other hand, values the process more than the result. Even if the person fails in their attempt, the growth mindset emphasizes the small victories along the way and thinks about how those could be useful in subsequent endeavors.

Before talking about your colleague’s feedback, go over the significance of a growth mindset. Discuss how they can improve future projects or assignments using the feedback from constructive criticism.

7. Use passive voice

Passive voice removes the person taking action from the sentence. When giving constructive criticism, this can be a helpful tool to make sure your colleague doesn’t feel attacked. Try saying, “The forms were not mailed on time and arrived late,” rather than, “You forgot to mail the forms and they were late.” This tactic is especially helpful for coworkers who might not react positively to feedback as others do.

8. Consider technological aids

You dont have to deliver feedback in person. Instead of sharing feedback during a face-to-face meeting, it can be beneficial to send it through a formalized digital feedback program. Instead of focusing on the constructive criticism itself, think about sending notes about your feedback to your colleague before your meeting so they’re prepared for a helpful and productive conversation about strategies and tactics for the future.

9. Focus on description

Instead of passing judgment when discussing a specific piece of feedback, provide a description. You prefer to act as a messenger who is objective to a jury or judge. Instead of saying, “Every time you answer the phone, you forget to greet the customer,” for instance Say, “I noticed you didn’t ask the customer how they were doing when I saw you answer the phone last week. Your customer service skills are poor.” Instead of assuming that the second example’s customer service representative is incompetent, you’re describing an action.

10. Share constructive feedback exclusively

You might observe traits or behaviors in your coworkers that don’t align with the way you go about your work. There is no need to bring up these behaviors if they have no effect on your peers’ performance or if they cannot be changed. To aid your colleague in producing better work, keep your criticism constructive.

11. State what you observe

Avoid using emotional language when giving constructive criticism. Instead of making assumptions about your colleague, offer observational notes and strategies. Say something like, “Pat received the assignment a week late,” rather than, “You didn’t finish your assignment by the deadline, so I assume you’re lazy.” ” Removing emotional language can help keep the conversation productive.

12. Identify the behavior

When discussing constructive criticism, concentrate on the behaviors that your peer can address and improve rather than on them as a person. For instance, your coworker may frequently talk about personal matters in office gatherings. The better response is to say, “Discussing your weekend during a staff meeting isn’t necessary,” as opposed to, “You’re never focused when you should be.” ” This targets the action—discussing—rather than the individual.

13. Limit the number of suggestions

If you give your coworker too many suggestions for improvement, they might become overwhelmed. Depending on the peer and the improvements that need to be made to the feedback, pick one to three examples of feedback to share. To make sure your colleague comprehends your ideas and your instructions, clearly define each one.

14. Be respectful

Address your coworker with deference and gratitude for their contributions to the workplace. Even if they disagree with your suggestions, maintain your professionalism and remind them that your recommendations are there to help your peer advance their career and improve their skills.

15. Provide evidence

When possible, back up your assertions and recommendations with evidence. For instance, instead of relying on your own ideas and feelings if a peer handled a customer interaction poorly, use language from the employee handbook to guide your suggestions for how to handle an irate customer the next time it happens.

16. Display empathy

Receiving feedback can be uncomfortable. When giving feedback to a colleague, be sympathetic to their situation. Consider how you might feel and respond to errors, missteps, or other criticisms of your work by using that empathy. Empathy can assist you and your peer in having a successful conversation that has a favorable outcome.

17. Choose your words carefully

Consider your comments carefully before sharing them orally or in writing. Making notes prior to a face-to-face meeting can help ensure that you share your feedback in a constructive manner and without emotion. By editing and proofreading an email or digital feedback form, you can make sure that you’re giving your colleague clear and helpful suggestions.

18. Be specific

Make sure the criticism you offer your colleague is both specific and useful. Offer advice or strategies that your peer can use the next time they find themselves in that situation after identifying the behavior or instance that needs improvement.


How do you write a feedback for a peer review?

Here are some positive feedback examples to help you get started:
  • Your contribution to the meeting today changed the course of this project.
  • I am incredibly impressed by how you were able to achieve every objective you set out to do.
  • Consistency is one of your biggest strengths. …
  • You did a great job with your presentation today.

What are some examples of positive feedback for colleagues?

  1. Justify your recommendation with concrete evidence and specific examples.
  2. Give the authors specific feedback so they will know what to change.
  3. Be thorough. This might be the only time you read the manuscript.
  4. Be professional and respectful. …
  5. Remember to say what you liked about the manuscript!

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