Peer feedback exercise

Feedback is a way to let people know what you think of them or their work, and hence help them improve.  Typically, they’re given on a individual basis. One to One. Feedback is always considered private or confidential. When it comes to group feedback, there is always apprehension of something going wrong.

But the kind of connectedness and benefits a group session brings is hardly observed in individual sessions. Done properly, the mood of the team is uplifted and reflects on every individual.

Individual feedback has matured over time and many ways have been formalized. One to one, self evaluation, etc. are all good mechanisms to deliver feedback at an individual level. However, there are very few effective methods to conduct a group feedback session. We’ve tried out a couple of ways and one seemed to work better than others..

We tried out a couple of sessions for group feedback during last year and got some positive reactions on it. Let me share the mechanism here..

  • Get the group gathered in a place.. preferably seated in a circular manner (so everybody can see each other).
  • Ask everyone to write (on to a sticky note.. or something similar) to 3 people appreciating something that they’ve done and to 3 people asking them to improve on certain things.
  • Give the group about 15 minutes.
  • People who’re done can go handover the note in person to the concerned individual. The person receiving the note responds by saying thanks (as you do when you receive a gift)
  • Once all notes are distributed, each one starts reading the notes received by them one by one.
  • As the notes are read, people can add to them or comment on them as they feel right.
  • A moderator is required to keep things moving at a good pace.

I’ve personally run this exercise about 10 occassions.. and always received a good response.

  • The team feels more connected after each session.
  • People like being appreciated by their peers. (which normally doesn’t happen at work place)
  • Serious things can be conveyed on a very light note. I’ve observed this many times.. Even sensitive issues can be discussed very positively in these discussions.
  • There is generally no bad blood.. because its not your manager giving you feedback. Its someone who has worked with you on a daily basis.
  • You get more accurate feedback items..

OK. Try it sometime and let me know your reactions on the same.