Peer to peer feedback can be scary at first, especially if the practice of peer to peer feedback is new within your organization or team. Don't worry, that feeling passes once you see how effortless and rewarding it can be! Every team should think about its own rules of engagement, but these are some we use within Sidekick:
Rules for giving feedback to peers
1. Be Respectful
There's more than one way to deliver a message. Make sure you're delivering your message with words and tone that demonstrate your respect for them as a teammate and as a fellow human being. Remember that feedback is either amplified or muted based on mutual respect.
2. Be Constructive
Telling someone what they've done wrong isn't nearly as valuable as giving feedback regarding what could be done better. By framing your feedback around how something could improve, you're giving the other person something to work with rather than a dead end to get stuck in.
3. Be Specific
When pointing out an observation or making a recommendation, be as specific and thorough as possible. This makes it easier for a person to target and modify their own behavior, should they ultimately decide to. If recommending a course of action or referencing a resource, include a link to that reference.
4. Be Thoughtful
The goal of peer to peer feedback is to help a teammate see something they might not otherwise see. If you breeze through reviewing a peer's work, they learn nothing from you. You might even miss learning, yourself, from reviewing their work! Put as much thought into reviewing another's work as you would want expended on reviewing your work.
Rules for receiving feedback from peers
1. Be Open-minded
There's more than one way to skin a cat, or at least that's how the saying goes (no cats were harmed in the making of this article!). Let your ego take a walk while you read and process the feedback your teammates have given you. Otherwise, you may not learn anything at all!
2. Be Grateful
Giving feedback can be just as scary as receiving feedback. What if it isn't received well? What if I correct someone and it turns out I'm wrong? Even once a person gets past those seemingly small hangups, they've got to take time out of their day to help you improve your work. Be grateful for the courage and the effort set forth by your teammates, even if you find that you disagree with the feedback they give.
3. Be Accountable
This last one is incredibly important. It's your responsibility to maintain accountability to both your team and yourself. Just because feedback is given does not mean that you must change how you work. You have the option to change and you have the agency to decide how. You and you alone are responsible for your actions so you should own how you interpret and act upon feedback you receive from your fellow team members.