The Peer Feedback Model

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I tell peers they're doing the wrong thing?
  • How do I tell peers they're doing great?
  • How do I get peers to change their behavior?

We've been asked so many times, "what about giving feedback to peers? Or even to my boss?" It's a great question, because our feedback model (you'll find the original show here), with that wonderfully necessary and challenging 4th step, just doesn't seem to translate. It takes nothing more than asking yourself how you'd feel about being on the receiving end from a peer to know that it won't have the same effect.

Why is that? We cover that, as well as what to do about it, in this cast on How To Give Feedback to Peers and Bosses. Yes, bosses are also covered by this method, because it's so non-confrontational, but we don't feel strongly about endorsing it as fully for bosses as we do for peers.

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Yea! We've been waiting for this one!

Yea! We've been waiting for this one! Thank you.

Podcasts als Informationsquelle noch

Podcasts als Informationsquelle noch lange nicht erschöpft...

Laut weltweiter Studie nimmt die Nutzung von Podcasts im B2B-Bereich zu. Insbesondere bei technischen Entscheidungen werden Podcasts als Informationsquelle genutzt. Dabei spielt es für den Nutzer fast keine Rolle mehr, ob er private oder gesch&#22...

JonP- Cool. Now, go try it and tell


Cool. Now, go try it and tell us what you think. CAn't tell you how many times I thought about releasing this one.


Well done - I've been thinking about

Well done - I've been thinking about this one over the last few days and basically came to the same conclusion.

The other thing I feel you might have touched on is the importance of having a good relationship with your peer in the first place. Then, making these sort of feedback comments is not only easier, but it comes across in a more natural and relaxed way and is more likely to be taken the right way and acted upon.

There's never a substitute for relationship!

Mark and Mike- I'm a great fan of

Mark and Mike-

I'm a great fan of your 4-step feedback model as well as an enthusiastic listener and promoter of your manager-tools project with my colleagues.

As I listened to the peer feedback cast, I realized that I had intuitively been playing down step 4 when giving feedback to peers (haven't tried on my boss yet - and not in a big hurry to do so, either). You managed to put words on the reason for this very well, Mike, with your driving analogy and the point about removing the control aspect that you would have with direct reports.

I was a little surprised, however, that you dropped the first "asking" step from this model when adapting it for use with peers. In my experience, asking someone up front if they are ready for some feedback is such a great way of getting their attention. It also actually helps them prepare for processing the information you are about to share with them.

I'd be very interested to hear if others have had different experiences on this.

Thanks for the great work guys - keep it coming!


Great cast! I currently have no directs

Great cast! I currently have no directs so this is a great way to hone my feedback skills as I develop towards the goal of entering the ranks of boring, unsexy management.

Thanks again

Andrew- Great point. What I've


Great point. What I've found is that with peers, the biggest moment in delivering feedback is the manager asking themSELF "Can I share something with this person?" That's obviously a function at least in part of the relationship and the perception of openness.

I've found as well that as soon as you ask the other person, in part because we don't give feedback to peers nearly as often as we do directs, the recipient mistakenly sees this situation as significant or critical. In other words, asking a peer decreases their openness and increases their defensiveness, because they somehow feel that you are stepping beyond the acceptable peer relationship boundaries.

When we leave the first step out, it's received more as a sharing of an outcome they might not be aware of, rather than a critique of their actions, which allows them to think more about what they did and come to their own conclusions.


Mike and Mark You talked about

Mike and Mark

You talked about positive feedback. It has been my experience, and this is a generalization, that the higher up in an organization a manager is… the more of a “good finder” they are. Not that they don’t have to give adjusting feedback, it’s just that they give much more positive feedback.

As evidence, the people who listen to your podcast are likely to be in the top five percent of their field. Your listeners stand out because they care enough to keep learning, and if you analyzed the discussion boards here, I think you’d find that the posts are overwhelmingly positive.

And if we give a lot of positive feedback, our peers and directs are more open and less defensive.

Oh and by the way, Good Job Guys!


Joe- Wow! Have to disagree. Senior


Wow! Have to disagree. Senior executives are terrible at giving positive feedback. It's surprising to find one who gives a lot. (Remembering that praise is not feedback).

And, I don't generally make the connection to what we do to what managers do. We're certainly thrilled with the positive comments - though the mjority of it is praise and not feedback - but I would equate it to kudos from customers well served rather than to a manager sharing with a team member, or peer feedback. I think there are subtle but important distinctions to make when we're talking about feedback, because of the emotional content associated with each.

And... thanks for the kind words! We love this stuff.


Sorry Joe but I agree with Mark. I

Sorry Joe but I agree with Mark. I find the depressing part of management is the fact (and this was touched on in the cast) that too often the problem is that we are focused on the problems! Right now in our business we have one part that is 60% ahead of budget and one part that is 80% behind - guess which team is getting all the feedback from the board room . . .

Mark and Mike, My brother-in-law put

Mark and Mike,

My brother-in-law put me onto your podcasts a week or so ago, and I have been listening to the backlog. As somebody who started as a IT Tech, then became a team leader, and now (for the last year) is a operation manager of IT Team Leaders and IT Team on a help desk, I have kinda winged managing staff the whole time. Recently I have done a little training on managing staff, and I have found gems of information in each of the casts I have listened to that are definately rounding out what I am learning. Up until recently I did not see the benefit of one on one meetings or reviews. I have done a 180 on that and definately see why it is so important, and I have found the casts on feedback, one on ones and so on immeasurably useful. Thank you. Douglas.

Douglas, Thanks for the note ...


Thanks for the note ... Mark and I are thrilled you're getting value out of the podcasts. And please pass on our thanks to your brother for sharing us with you!

best regards,

Mark and Mike, I would have to agree

Mark and Mike,

I would have to agree with Andrew, while I understand your response. The point I'd like to make is that it seems to me that the point of providing feedback is either to change a behavior or to reinforce it. And, the best way to make sure that happens is to make sure the recipient is ready to receive the feedback first.

While it's true that most of our peers immediately think that the feedback will be of the adjusting variety, I think if we start with the positive that they will change that preconception much like our reports will.

Also, when thinking about giving feedback to my boss, it just seems much more natural to ask, "can I give you some feedback?" or "do you have a minute to discuss what just happened?" than to just launch into something that he might not be ready to hear.

Just a thought...maybe step one isn't necessarily mandatory for peer/boss feedback, but it might be appropriate to consider whether or not it will help achieve the desired outcome given the circumstances.


Tim- I encourage you to do what you


I encourage you to do what you think best. I've tried both ways many many times on many many peers and bosses, and not asking wins hands down. But that doesn't mean it's not me...


On whether to ask first or not. I

On whether to ask first or not. I suspect it depends very much on the relationship. There are some people who I will quite happily accept feedback from and if they said "Hey, can I give you sopme feedback?" I'd say yes. Other people (typically people who I distrust due to past behaviour) who would be told no and if they tried to give it to me would be ignored. I guess this links to the Relationship Power thing you talked about in the Persuasive Presentations cast.

Two steps.... easy, breezy

Mark and Mike,

I just went through the materials for the (4 step) Feedback Model and wondered how it would apply to peers.  This podcast answered the question.  And it's something I can begin using immediately.  Stripping down the model to the basics for use with peers keeps it very easy. 

In the past, I have used a simple "Thank you" for recognizing assistance from a peer.  I'm looking to see the difference when applying the model (when you... here's what happens).  Hearing good things from our our colleagues can be contagious.

I'm thinking that if you're aware of your colleague's DISC profile, tailored feedback can be even more effective - again both affirming as well as adjusting.

Thanks for the effort you guys put into this podcast!  These recordings really incent me to continue developing my skills.