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I, a developer, participated in feedback training – and this is what I learned

Niloo Motamed
By Niloo Motamed

Our developer Niloo participated in Wunder’s internal training on giving and receiving constructive feedback. Let’s hear from Niloo what she learned and how she now thinks about feedback in general.

Speaking bubbles

Wunder organises many different internal trainings, feedback training being one of them, and I got to participate in its previous round during February 2021. Why I pushed myself a little bit and dedicated some time and energy to develop my skills in this regard has a lot to do with two main questions we were asked to ponder before the training’s first session.

These two questions were:

  1. What is the impact of us Wunderers knowing how to give and receive feedback constructively?
  2. What are you expecting from this training?

In my opinion, constructive and well-delivered feedback is very empowering. We need this kind of feedback to move forward, develop ourselves and our ways of working together in a sustainable manner, and avoid getting stuck and repeating the same mistakes.

The word constructive in that sentence has a crucial role. I firmly believe giving constructive feedback is a skill that needs to be and can be acquired, nourished, and developed. If we want to have healthy communication and help each other grow, we need to understand and learn how to do it.

It is often said that words have power; they can leave a lasting scar or heal and nourish. I think it is safe to say that the feedback we give each other is not an exception to this rule; therefore, it is quite fundamental to distinguish between destructive and constructive feedback.

What actually happens in the brain when receiving feedback and the difference between these two feedback methods was eloquently explained during the training. Hence, our brains’ synopses operate in nanoseconds, and we often react before we even know it. So please just take it from me: it is not always easy to immediately recognise the level of constructiveness in the feedback nor easy to act constructively in a situation in which the feedback is not so constructive. Being aware of these brain reactions makes it easier to recognise the situations and act in the best possible manner.

What did I expect from the training – and were my expectations met?

At Wunder, we all work as part of a team, or even multiple teams, so it’s natural that we constantly find ourselves on either side of feedback. I participated in the feedback training hoping to understand the whole process of giving and receiving feedback, to have fruitful and healthy communication with my colleagues, and to gain some knowledge and some tools to deal with destructive feedback if I encounter such.

I don’t want to give away too much and spoil the experience for those participating in the next rounds (since personal ‘eurekas’ are the most efficient way to learn!), but allow me just to share one thing which I found very helpful. This technique might come in handy in personal life and professional one, and I would like to call it “the precious thank-you moment.” When we face an overwhelming situation due to unexpected or destructive feedback, we might think our immediate reaction is needed. During the training, I learned that if we are not ready, we can politely say: “thank you, I need some time to think over your feedback and will get back to you later.” That is, of course, easier said than done, and it needs a lot of practice. During the training sessions, we got to practice these kinds of practical solutions and techniques together in small groups, which I found very helpful.

Looking back at the four weeks of training, I can confidently say that I was not disappointed, far from it. The training went beyond my expectations and taught me so much more than I expected. I can therefore recommend this training (with a good conscience) to anyone who hasn’t yet participated.

As a summary and as the answer to the first question “What is the impact of us Wunderers knowing how to give and receive feedback constructively?”, I would answer now, after finishing the training and with all the things I learned: “ To know how to give and receive feedback constructively enables us Wunderers to learn, develop and innovate even more in an environment that is psychologically safer and supporting.” This benefits us as individuals, as team members, as a company and has a great positive impact on our clients and their customers.

In the end, I would like to loudly say that I am so grateful to be part of this company with these amazing people who care about such an important but often easy to neglect subject. I would also like to thank the competent team behind organizing this training. These programs are valuable and essential for a healthy work environment – and when it comes to feedback skills, those definitely are needed in all areas of life, not just at work.

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