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Managing Interpersonal Feedback

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Managing Interpersonal Feedback

        As part of our engineering projects done at the end of each course, the group had to conduct peer reviews to assess the contribution of each member, exchange feedback, and shape future expectations of how to handle scenarios on both technical and peer levels. The peer review that I am interested in analyzing was done in a group of three members on a one on one basis. The group was provided with a template to serve as basis for what the review should cover, but there were no strict instructions that it should be precisely followed. We could choose our time preference and submit the results anytime before the end of the semester.

        Overall, the group was getting along well and efforts were made to perfect the project deliverables. Towards the end, we performed the reviews, which turned out to be very constructive and necessary. The experience of receiving and giving out feedback had important impact on how to better one’s contribution and avoid pitfalls.

        On delivering feedback, my comments were mainly concentrated on positives and I would associate my point with specific examples on what I though had good outcome for the group. According to Anderson, “If the person being given feedback can be cited specific examples of instances in which he or she behaved in the way described, it will be much easier to understand what has been said than if the message is given only in terms of generalization”. The feedback didn’t contain much criticism that should have been directed towards behaviors that needed to be addressed in order to be improved. For example, one of the group members had a tone of speaking that may sound as uninterested or indifferent about a topic that was being discussed. Such a mood, although not necessarily crucial to every part of the project, affected my perception of the other member, and I started to view him as a passive member whom we can bypass. Indeed, the article asserts that “it’s your perception that defines the other person’s behavior as a problem”, and as such, these perceptions could turn into facts that are attributed to each person. It was very important for me to provide a summary at the end of the review in a format of bullet points to confirm that every member is on the same page as to what had been discussed and of the possible future changes that need to be embraced. However, I did fall into the trap of making generalizations about members, and I didn’t expect much of improvement. The article addresses these common points as “even when other people change their behavior after feedback, we refuse to change our perceptions of them”. After analyzing the assigned articles, I developed a sense of what a constructive feedback must cover, that the method of delivery carries many messages, and that it is the duty of both the sender and receiver to fully grasp the content of the review and work together towards achieving the desired outcome. Peer reviews are “intended to be helpful for the recipient”, and it accomplishes its purposes when it aims at correcting behaviors and/or patterns rather than merely criticizing and putting down individuals.



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