When you work with people that think the way you think you rarely need feedback - you already know what they are thinking. Unfortunately working with people that think the same way you think leads to one dimensional solutions, that’s not what we are after. Instead we want to introduce diversity so that we see a problem at multiple angles.
The challenge with diversity is you have to work with people who think and act differently to how you think and act. To be able to work with them effectively you need to actively gather feedback.
I’m beginning to realize how poor we are at giving and receiving this type of feedback, especially in a work environment.
As software developers we are good at talking about solving technical problems with others… but ask us to give and receive feedback directly to another person about the challenges and nuances we encounter when working with them and we really battle!
Today I want to share some tips about what to get feedback on…
- Ask directly how you come across to them and any adjustments you can make when interacting them?
- Ask are there any gaps in your interactions that they feel you should focus on, are there things you do that irritate them or they think you could do better?
- Be grateful for any feedback you receive, even if you don’t agree with it.
Often people will tell you that they don’t have any big issues… if someone tells you this, ask them for a small thing… everyone has something and the small things make the difference between good and great!
The final tip I want to share today is to ask these questions reguarly. You will find with many people the first couple times you ask them these questions they will tell you everything is fine. Often it isn’t, they just don’t trust you enough to get to the important stuff. If you work with someone daily it may be worth going through this with them every few weeks. You will find after a couple of times of giving you nothing they eventually start to share the real issues. At which point you can start moving the collaboration to the next level.