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Don't Take It Personally

Receiving feedback can be tough. It can be hard to remember that it is meant to help improve work going forward, not to point out current flaws. This is even more prevalent in an industry packed full of introverts and especially in roles where it is your job to find issues and help fix them. It can be incredibly easy to take these kinds of feedback or comments personally in the workplace, but what is the impact when we do so?

When we personalize situations, we tend to lose sight of the bigger picture. It becomes easier to focus in on minute details and not look at the overall context in which the feedback is being given. The impacts of this lower level of focus can result in wasted time from; chasing the wrong issues, laying blame, making up excuses, refusing to ask for help, and ultimately avoiding discussions around the root cause and ways to improve.

This workshop will draw on experiences and examples of situations such as; testing debriefs (tester to tester interactions), bug discovery (tester to developer interactions), and inter team projects (team to team interactions) and discuss tactics for each on staying objective and productive. After going through what makes feedback and comments personal we will break into small groups to practice tactics for identifying linguistic traits that can make feedback personal and work on ways that we can bring our conversations back to a more productive and objective trajectory. When we look at feedback for what it truly is - a way to improve - we can build better relationships between communities and teams to make them stronger as a result.

Key takeaways:

  • Tactics for how to better identify situations where you may be personalizing 
  • Tactics to reorient thinking back to objectified view vs personalized view
  • Tactics for how to improve communication to avoid negatively received feedback both in one on one conversations and in group settings
  • Practiced, hands on experience will each of these tactics