January means end of year performance reviews at work, which means both giving and receiving more feedback. Fortunately this time round I appear to have found a much better strategy for the former, that involves at least a little less anxiety - block out an entire day for it, and force yourself to keep going until you’re done. I have now, thankfully, completed feedback forms for everyone on my team, on the first day that it was asked of me to do so, so I’m not going to have it hanging over me like it did in June.
Other than this incredibly obvious piece of advice, the only other particularly noteworthy thing from the experience came from the questions posed by two different managers. One of them asked (to their credit I believe this is the default template):
Which behaviours should this person demonstrate more? Please specify at least 1 behaviour, and an example of a missed opportunity where they could have better demonstrated.
And another one asked:
Where can this person improve to make real, impactful differences in the future?
They are both essentially the same question - what can this person do better - but one fills me with anxiety, and one does the exact opposite and actually makes me feel quite good about answering, even if it does mean offering constructive feedback. As programmers I think the nuance of human language is often lost on us in favour of an affinity for the nuance of machine languages, but this was an important reminder that both are just as important in order to be a great engineer.