The Fear Factor: How to Take the Fear Out of Feedback
Almost everyone says that they REALLY REALLY want to receive feedback…so why does it feel like we hardly ever get meaningful, constructive feedback at the point in time when it would actually make a difference? Why do we come up with a list of reasons why we should just let something go, so that we can avoid having to deliver feedback ourselves? For many of us, both the giving and receiving of feedback can often feel like an awkward and uncomfortable task. And it’s because we avoid it whenever possible that we don’t improve these skills and we miss out on opportunities to help ourselves and our teammates grow.
In this this highly interactive workshop, we hope to reduce anxiety around delivering and receiving feedback. First, we’ll discuss what makes giving feedback such a challenge and then introduce several different frameworks and approaches that you can use to prepare and organize your feedback and your response. Then, since the best way to improve our skills is through deliberate practice, we’ll break into small groups to practice together through a series exercises in a fun and safe setting. We’ll be swapping roles as we go along, so that everyone has equal opportunity to practice giving and receiving feedback.
If you are looking to improve your personal feedback skills, searching for ways to help your team become more open and willing to share feedback with each other, or interested in how simple practice and exercises can improve learning and build up skills, then this session is for you!
Outline/Structure of the Workshop
This workshop is all giving attendees the knowledge and skills needed to improve their feedback delivery, along with an opportunity to practice doing so in a safe setting. It will not be a theoretical talk, but will instead be based on our real experiences and those of the attendees.
We’ll start the session by sharing our personal stories about why this topic is so important to us and then move into a round of small group discussion to work through attendees’ experiences around what has held them and others back from sharing constructive feedback. After collecting this data, we’ll quickly run through some of the primary feedback anti-patterns we’ve observed and then introduce several different models which can be helpful for effectively framing and delivering feedback. This is where most the workshop time will be spent, to allow attendees time to put two of these models into practice via pair exercises. We will then regroup and deliver some tips for positively receiving feedback and then attendees will run through one more short exercise to practice. We’ll close out by recapping the feedback models we practiced, providing additional resources attendees can reference after the session, and asking each attendee to identify three pieces of feedback they will deliver when they go back to work.
1) Introduction – Feedback is both important and hard (10 minutes)
- Everyone says they want feedback, but effectively delivering & receiving feedback remains a challenge
- Some personal stories:
- Becoming a new supervisor and needing to learn how to give impactful feedback
- Trying to coach a team that’s been having destructive conversations on how to provide constructive feedback
2) Why is getting and receiving feedback so difficult? (20 minutes)
- Small group discussion, sharing real stories
- Time when you had feedback to give, but didn’t – what happened? What held you back from giving the feedback?
- Time when you gave feedback and it didn’t go well?
- Collect primary blockers and concerns out of small group discussions
3) Feedback anti-patterns (15 minutes)
- Quick recap of common feedback anti-patterns (how we get it wrong): Too ambiguous/non-specific, Non-direct, Not timely, etc.
4) Practical approaches/frameworks for delivering & receiving feedback (65 minutes altogether – 4a + 4b)
- Practice delivering and receiving feedback in pairs/small groups
4a) Giving feedback (45 minutes)
- Content overview
- Introduce useful frameworks: Impact Feedback, Constructive re-framing, SBIR
- General tips (regardless of model): Agree as a team – get on same page, use same language, write it out, practice on someone else, start by giving positive feedback, tips from Radical Candor
- Practice delivering feedback in pair/small group exercises:
- Constructive re-framing
- Impact Feedback/SBIR
4b) Receiving feedback (20 minutes)
- Content overview
- Introduce useful frameworks: 6 Steps framework, 2% Truth
- Practice receiving feedback in pair/small group exercises
5) Recap and call to action (10 minutes)
- Review the feedback approaches we practices
- Provide references for additional resources to explore after this session
- Call to action: each attendee will write out three pieces of feedback to deliver in the next week
We have run through most components of this workshop internally in a multi-team setting, but haven’t presented it in a conference setting yet. If selected, we will present at a DC area Agile Meetup (likely DC Scrum User Group) prior to the conference to get feedback and ensure our timings work in a large group setting.
- Increased empathy for team members who struggle with delivering constructive feedback
- Knowledge of several different frameworks which can be used for delivering effective feedback to others
- Techniques for turning destructive feedback into constructive feedback
- How to model effectively receiving feedback given to you
- Understanding how simulations/small group exercise can help individuals and teams practice and strengthen their feedback skills
All team members, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, mentors, and managers
Prerequisites for Attendees