Getting honest and useful feedback is a wonderful gift. Obviously positive feedback (“You’re doing a great job with this project!”) is awesome because it makes you feel good and motivated to keep up the good work. Negative feedback, (“Your site is extremely hard to navigate and I wasn’t able to complete the signup process”) can be painful to hear, but if you can swallow your pride, it’s actually an amazing opportunity to improve what you’re working on.
On the other side, being able to deliver good feedback (especially negative feedback) means you have the opportunity to influence the people and projects around you to make them better. But because many people shut down when recieving negative feedback about themselves or others, it’s important to deliver that feedback in the right way.
As a startup founder, I give and receive a ton of feedback both positive and negative, so this is something I think about a lot. Here are some suggestions I have for delivering negative feedback effectively. Follow them and watch your feedback’s influence increase.
- Show you care about the project/person
“I’m totally behind your efforts to help disabled athletes in China…”
- Show you understand and are aligned with the projects goals
“I know you are focusing on just one market at this time…”
- Show that you’ve thought through reasons why the implementation might be what it is
“I bet you saw good reasons to use three buttons instead of two…” Continue reading…