Peer-to-Peer Feedback

I talk to a manager who had attended one of my feedback workshops.

One of his staff members had come to him complaining about another team member who had a habit of eating cookies when they worked together, and was getting crumbs all over his desk and keyboard.

Prior to the workshop, this manager would have listened to the complaining staff member, then gone to the crumb-making staff member and had a chat.

But this time, he did something different. He told the complaining staff member that he need to address the issue directly, and gave him coaching on how to deliver the message.

In essence, he took himself out of the middle. This is a good thing. When ever possible, issues between peers are best addressed between peers. Bringing in the manager immediately escalates the emotional content of the feedback. And bringing in the manager erodes trust — no one likes to be tattled on.

It can be uncomfortable to give peer-to-peer feedback. But learning to do so has benefits in building trust and handling issues when the are small.

For some guidelines on peer-to-peer feedback, read my little article on