Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Peer feedback for the worst of the internet to inspire constructive feedback to your wonderful co-workers.
Giving feedback to peers is always difficult.
On one hand, you don’t want to be the reason that they lose out on promotion. On the other, you want to give them feedback to help them improve. What do you do?
Peer Feedback | The Basics
In general, best to go the honest route. Be constructive while still being polite and taking their situation into account.
Whenever possible, negative feedback to your peer should not be a surprise. The first time they hear about shouldn’t be in the form of written formal feedback. Talk to them face-to-face, or if you are still WFH, through a video call. It may feel awkward but it is a good time to practice giving feedback like you would when you are a manager or a lead.
If you want a step-by-step breakdown of how to give peer feedback at work, check out my book which you can buy and download immediately.
The Co-Workers of Reddit | Peer Feedback Examples
As a fun exercise, I’ve taken some of the worst co-workers on Reddit and will be using them as examples of people that you have to give peer or upward feedback. Hopefully, you never have to work alongside anyone resembling them but if you do, may bookmark this just in case.
*I am writing peer feedback as if the issue has already been addressed in person either directly or through their manager. Again, we don’t want to catch people unaware.
The Technologically Impaired
I feel for both of these co-workers!
Who hasn’t gotten frustrated trying to explain how Facebook or an iPad works to their parents?
I’ve also gotten to a stage in my life where I’ve given up on new apps because I can’t be bothered to learn where the buttons are. I get it.
It sounds like everyone on the team has tried to help the coworker understand the programs and processes but he has difficulty with the most basic functions. Volunteering alternative solutions that may take a while, could be more effective than having him try to learn everything at once or leaving him off projects altogether.
William’s productivity is slowed down by his difficulties using various program interfaces and processes that are essential to his work. As a team, we have made an effort to help him improve and onboard. Despite our efforts, there hasn’t been a noticeable improvement.
I can imagine that this may be frustrating for William as well as he makes a genuine effort in trying to absorb the information we are giving him. An external refresher in a computer basics course could aid in his learning. Internally, a more gradual onboarding process could help him gain confidence in a limited area before he moves forward with another program.
The Conversation Dominator
Everyone has met one of these people. They take over conversations and start talking about their favorite topics. They are passionate and can talk endlessly about it but it gets old quickly. While this may be someone you can cut out of your personal life but work is a different story.
Bring the problem back to how it hinders the work of the team. In addition, suggest actionable feedback and indicate the beneficial results if the behavior were to be changed.
Klein has a tendency to steer and dominate group conversation which can discourage others from participating. While it can be helpful to get his expertise in some areas, I feel it would be beneficial for the whole team if they could practice active listening by asking more questions directed especially at the less talkative members of the team. By doing this, we can create a space that encourages everyone to participate equally.
The Explosive Manager | Upward Feedback Examples
Incredibly inappropriate and should be dealt with by HR but let’s say it has been and you still need to mention it in the feedback.
I imagine a person who is well-rested, well-fed and under a normal amount of stress would not react in this way. Not to excuse their behavior but hopefully whatever contributed to their outburst has been resolved and is left as a one-time incident.
Olivia displayed unprofessionalism early on in my time at this company. While it has since been resolved and she has apologized for her actions, I would still like to make note of it in our feedback.
The main area of improvement would be in the communication of when she is unhappy with an employee’s performance. I had missed some essential tasks for a few days in a row in my onboarding. Rather than informing me as soon as it was noticed, Olivia completed the task herself. This led to her dumping trash on my desk on the third day out of frustration.
I have seen her make an effort to address situations of conflict sooner resulting in a more transparent workplace. In addition, I’ve also been able to improve my performance with honest feedback.
The HR Bully
What happens when HR, the department you can rely on, is the problem?
This issue should be escalated and should be resolved by higher-ups. In the best-case scenario, they have the same concerns over client safety. Otherwise, it may be a good time to be looking for another place to work. If their concerns of client safety are low, I can’t imagine their concern for employees is high.
There have been several instances where Emma has minimized my concerns for client safety and dismissed them as my unwillingness to be a team player. As our clients are our number one concern, this is alarming and should be rectified quickly. Clear instruction on how to escalate such issues or a realignment in team goals could be steps taken to ensure company values are adhered to.
The Constant Complainer
Another one of those people that you’d never want to be around in your personal time but have to put up with at work.
It sounds like he isn’t happy with his work while the OP doesn’t have those same concerns. Either those concerns are real and should be addressed by a manager or it’s all talk and they need to understand that spreading unfounded and unreported information is detrimental to the rest of the team.
Liam has concerns about his workload and workplace treatment that he shares loudly with his co-workers. While I believe it is important to raise these concerns to address any issues at a team or department wide-level, I would like to see his efforts be channeled into more effective methods.
I have not personally experienced the concerns that Liam has and his complaints have distracted me from my work. If he could resolve these concerns with management at an individual level or find others that have the same concerns and propose a solution to the team, I believe he could be a step closer to building a more positive work environment.
The Busy Bee
It seems like this person is interrupting everyone multiple times a day and bursting into offices left right and center.
If their goal is 10,000 steps, they are probably doing a great job.
Suggesting more effective methods of communication while being firm on them can be really helpful in setting your boundaries and making sure you can work in peace.
Lucas and I worked together on a number of projects this quarter and I found that our informal scheduling of meeting to be a distraction to my core work. I would appreciate it scheduling times to meet with an agenda so I can properly address his concerns while blocking time to have sessions of deep work so I can accomplish my tasks without interruptions.
Feeling grateful for your team yet?
Peer feedback in the workplace can be easy if you remain objective and relate your suggestions back to the objective of your team and company.
Who are you having difficulty giving feedback to?
Need help with self-evaluations, peer or upward feedback? Check out my book or book a session with me.