Being able to give constructive feedback is critical for any relationship—especially those within a startup. Internally, staff partners, leadership, and investors need to have open dialogue with one another. Externally, customers and clients need to be able to communicate freely. Without effective feedback loops, a startup’s progress and growth may suffer.
Here are a few ways to effectively give feedback:
Have a conversation with yourself first.
Before you offer up any feedback, have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself how you feel and what emotions are running through your head. Try to sift through all your thoughts and figure out if any of your feelings are associated with personal biases. Being aware of how you feel and why you feel a certain way will allow you to better communicate your feedback.
There is a fine line to walk between being both direct and compassionate. It’s important to communicate that you are there to offer up constructive feedback, while also getting your point across without overly sugarcoating your message. Remember, it’s okay to sit in some discomfort, while also creating a safe space for open communication.
Don’t say your piece and then tune out. Instead, actively listen to the person you just gave feedback to. Hear what they have to say and provide intentional, open-ended questions in return.
Ask how you can help or aid in the solution. Oftentimes, offering feedback and coming to a mutual solution means you may need to shift some of your behaviors and workflows as well. By offering your support, you are showing that you want to see future progress and success.
The ability to provide feedback is a critical leadership skill and imperative part of any startup’s culture. Be proactive, direct, and compassionate—you will be setting yourself and your teammates up for success.
Tweet @StarterNoise to tell us how you give effective feedback.
Derek Rundell, is a successful business leader, operator, and serial entrepreneur. Derek has founded, managed and sold businesses in the technology, media and finance industries. He sits on several boards and serves as an advisor/investor to numerous established businesses and startups. Startups are Derek’s real passion, and in addition to building his own portfolio of technology, media and financial ventures, he invests in and mentors startups and entrepreneurs. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and helping other businesses succeed.