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The "Critical Feedback" Lesson is part of the full, Enterprise Engineering Management 102 course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Ryan discusses how to approach giving critical feedback and having conversations about it, affirming the importance of creating a conducive space for feedback and considering the recipient's readiness to receive it. Also highlighted is the need for clear and concise feedback, framing it as an observation and providing concrete examples. Additionally stressed is the importance of empathy, patience, and open dialogue in these conversations.

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Transcript from the "Critical Feedback" Lesson

[00:00:00]
>> How do you approach having critical feedback and having those conversations? I think it's important to think about setting up the space for having the critical feedback, making sure that people are in the right headspace to receive, this is really important. It can be tricky because sometimes they're not in the right place for a bit.

[00:00:22] You need to try and navigate, like you need to give the feedback, like you do still have to deliver that. But if someone's having a hard time, maybe they have dealing with family issues, who knows? There's a lot of things, we're dealing with people, right? Maybe you wanna say like, I'm not gonna give that to them right now, that's not gonna be helpful in this moment.

[00:00:41] But there's ways in which you should check in, is this person ready for feedback? And there again, our nice little assume best intent, right? Even when I'm giving someone critical feedback, I wanna assume that they're mean well, and that if they made mistakes, I wanna try and approach it with, this person, they're doing their best and I wanna try and treat it like that.

[00:01:05] When you're giving critical feedback, this is so important, be as clear and concise as possible. Leaving ambiguity is so hard. And my team knows this, is like if I'm saying you are not meeting expectations on said thing, it's taken a lot more serious than I think you could improve on that.

[00:01:28] Those are two different things, and I make sure that that's clear. I talked about that before they even have to hear critical feedback, but I'll reinforce that it's clear and concise as possible. I've made mistakes where it hasn't been clear. I'm always trying to tighten that up and make it as clear as possible.

[00:01:43] You wanna frame the feedback, I think Jem mentioned this, is in observation. So I might focus in like, I've noticed you're missing some timelines lately and I'm kind of worried about that. Is that something you're noticing too? And this opens it up a little bit where maybe there is an external factor that I'm just unaware of this person struggling with something, and so we can kinda talk through that.

[00:02:07] I can still see say, well, you're not meeting my expectations, but it will change up on how I approach that. If someone's dealing with some major issue, it's like all right, I don't need to pile on for them, and like we can work through this in other ways.

[00:02:21] So I do like to approach it with that curiosity and ask you like, share my observation, but then also get their input and understanding on it. You wanna provide concrete examples. This one's tough, I think, too, in the sense that I think sometimes you can get over prescriptive on examples or people get hung up on the examples.

[00:02:43] I still find sometimes I don't find the right balance. Sometimes people are like, well, I need more concrete examples. Or, yeah, that's a lot, they focus too much on the example and not more on the common theme. I still struggle with this one, but I think it is really helpful to speak to examples, especially ones that are more in the moment.

[00:03:03] Not, hey, six months ago you did this, that's not good, that is not helpful. People forget, or it's also why didn't you give me that feedback six months ago? So timely feedback is good too. Be empathetic. Understand that maybe this person was a high performer on your team and now they're not doing well.

[00:03:23] Well, okay, let's seek to understand, and these are people we're dealing with. .Be patient, have an open dialogue, have discussion, hear them out, understand, approach it with curiosity.