At GitLab, we believe giving and receiving useful feedback is an important way to grow as a company and as individuals. Feedback comes in many forms through synchronous and asynchronous communication channels.

Giving feedback can be scary because we fear we might damage a relationship, lose face or hurt someone we work with regularly. We focus on our sub-value of kindness when we give and receive feedback to reduce this fear and share ways to improve. Kindness demonstrates that we care for people by challenging them directly and delivering feedback. We reinforce this sub-value to ensure team members are kind in providing feedback by doing the following:

  1. If its hard feedback, do it in a small group
  2. Make the feedback specific
  3. Feedback should be improvement oriented
  4. Don't give feedback when you're upset or having a bad day!

We do our best to practice Radical Candor at GitLab, to care personally and challenge directly. To help build trust, we start by offering feedback on tasks. Over time candor builds greater trust on teams and makes feedback that can be more challenging easier to give and receive. A framework we use to help us deliver effective feedback is the Situation-Behavior-Impact (S-B-I) Model.

Situation - Define the when and where by anchoring in time and place.

Behavior - Describe the observable behavior and how it was used in context.

Impact - Describe how the other person’s action affected you or others experiences and thinking.

As a global, all-remote company, our team has different expectations for receiving thanks or constructive observations. We recognize our cultural differences and individual preferences play a role in how we work together, which is why we created GitLab's Cross-Cultural Collaboration Guide.

Creating an environment where team members can approach them with negative/constructive feedback can be fostered by:

  1. Avoiding interruptions.
  2. Asking clarifying questions
  3. Enforcing a no retaliation policy
  4. Following up

Earlier this week, our CEO Sid Sijbrandij and the GitLab Learning and Development team live-streamed a Q&A about giving and receiving feedback.

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