W6: Feedback


According to a study by Kruger and Dunning, it is proved that incompetent people tend to think they are better than the average while top tiers underestimate their ability. I thought it as an irony since if this is the case, not only competent people but also incompetent ones who read this paper might never consider themselves as the incompetent side, meaning even though they know this study, it will not going to change or affect them anyway.

Therefore, when working in a group and if you have to work with the group not once but for a certain period of time, you might have to choose to give a feedback to someone who you think has a room for improvement. When you want to give a feedback, especially a negative one, you might be worried if the other might feel offended by you. In that case, there are some tips you can keep in mind when providing feedback to others:

  • When giving feedback
    • What is your goal?
    • What is your ratio of positive to negative comments?
    • What are the cultural norms regarding feedback?
    • Public versus private
    • The recipient’s personality, circumstances, history, status, work style
    • Is your criticism constructive?
    • Consider a soft startup
    • Think about the balance of positive and negative

Also, there are tips when you are receiving feedback from others.

  • When receiving feedback
    • What is your goal?
    • How are you feeling?
    • Will this feedback get you closer to my goal?
    • Do you have any additional questions?
    • How might your feelings be getting in the way of this opportunity?
    • Taking notes

I am the person who tries to avoid conflict by not giving feedback to others and getting hugely vulnerable when I receive one. I sometimes find myself being very defensive with full of excuses when somebody tries to criticize me. However, after the session, I got to understand (or I already knew but kept denying) that giving feedback is one way of expressing care to the person; if someone does not care about me, they will not bother to give feedback for my betterment and vice versa. This diversion of thoughts makes me feel more acceptable when receiving constructive criticism and feel more conscious and careful when giving one to others.


Design Leadership by Sharon Kim
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School


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