Smiles don’t always mean good feedback

I’ve been behind in blogging this past week because it is review season at work.  Our reviews consist of a self-assessment and a set of 360 reviews.  Typically you suggest 3-5 people who have worked closely with you during the past year year to provide feedback through a form to your manager.

As a program manager, I get quite a few requests for 360s.  For many people, I am one of the few who work with them on a consistent basis and are not part of their immediate managerial chain.  This year was a record though, as I was asked to complete 39 360s.

I was wondering this weekend about why I had so many to do.  There are other program managers on my team who are not asked to fill out nearly as many.  I decided it probably came down to my demeanor.  As previously mentioned, I enjoy working with others, coaching and mentoring, and have a positive outlook.  I think it is my smiles that win me the 360s.

People believe that because I am nice, I will give them a good review.  I can say that just because I am nice, doesn’t mean I only have nice, kind things to say.  I have a knack for seeing what motivates and drives people- where they are strong and where they are weak.  (When I was younger, I moved around a lot and my ability to quickly figure out what made someone tick became a survival skill as I went from school to school).

I am not mean in my feedback.  I am truthful about the things that hold a person back, the areas and skills they need to focus on improving to become a more valuable member of the team.  Over the years, I have learned not to hold back, even when giving feedback to people more senior that myself- mangers, senior technologists, and architects.  I guess that means I am a good person to give feedback to all 39 of these people.  For some, though, I have a lot more improvement areas than strengths to list.  I have a feeling those are the ones who just bank on my smile.

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One response to this post.

  1. I agree with you that honest feedback (not skewed whether more positive or negative) is the best feedback to give. I do know individuals who have admitted to me that they focus their feedback on negative qualities because they believe feedback is about improvement.

    My take on feedback is that it’s about strengthening and strenthening involves building on what you are already good at and improving on areas that maybe lacking (or focusing on tasks that exploit your strengths.)

    The 39 reviews may also mean increased exposure to important projects. People usually try to get feedback on the projects they are most proud to work on. 🙂

    Reply

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