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How to give and receive effective feedback, remotely

Learn how effective feedback can enhance career growth, anytime and anywhere.

April 13, 2021

Someone typing on laptop

It’s almost always true that a worker who isn't meeting standards gets feedback, but the high performers fly under the radar. Whether you are a remote worker or are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic you might not be working face-to-face with your colleagues and manager. You probably want to hear when you’re doing a great job, and you also want to know about the small issues or differences in work style that keep you from delivering your best, remotely. Vice versa, being remote can come with its own set of cultural and professional challenges, and you may feel inclined to give feedback to those you work with as well.

We’ve mapped out a few tips and tricks for giving and receiving intentional, effective feedback so you can continue prioritising career growth, anywhere and anytime.

You’ve received feedback—now what?

Picture this: You’re tasked to a new project, working hard to prove your worth, and you’d like some input on how you’re doing. Your manager or colleague gives you the feedback you’ve been craving—good or bad—and now the ball is in your court. Where do you go from here?

  • Take some time to reflect. Really listen to the feedback, work to understand it, share your perspective on it, reflect on it, sit with it and then decide whether to act. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or follow up with additional questions to make sure you understand.
  • Keep yourself accountable. Reflecting and making note of your successes and challenges on a monthly basis with your manager enables you to learn better from the events that happened and to visualize what to do moving forward.
  • Commit to personal and professional development. Keep note of any questions or comments you have for your next touchpoint with your manager. You’ll be able to evaluate your progress and also let your manager know you took their feedback seriously—showing the drive that managers love to see. Your feedback matters, too.

Your feedback matters, too.

It can be hard to give your manager or colleagues feedback that actually helps them learn and improve. This type of feedback requires careful thought and should be strategic, focusing on big-picture matters and based in facts—especially when remote and not in person. Here’s how we recommend planning and prepping for a feedback session when you’re not face to face:

  • Focus on one behavior or issue at a time. While you’re remote, you want your feedback to be crystal clear and concise. Bombarding the recipient with several different points can be really confusing and overwhelming, not to mention seen as an attack.
  • Be positive. Your goal should be for both you and your colleague to leave the meeting feeling inspired and motivated to improve, not wallowing in self-pity—especially being remote and away from human interaction. Effective feedback requires a “positivity sandwich,” cushioning some negative with the positive.
  • Avoid being vague. Like we listed above, being incredibly clear is very important. Think: referencing specific examples and explaining the impact, so your recipient knows exactly why you are providing this feedback in the first place.

Ultimately, navigating the feedback waters while being remote is tricky and demands a bit more effort than is typical, on both ends. However, it’s worth it given the opportunity to expand your learnings, grow and help others develop their career.