The feedback challenge
Especially in creative industries one of the biggest communication challenges is giving feedback.
When given in the right way feedback can be the catalyst for the success of a project but when it's not, it can derail it in spectacular fashion.
So how can you communicate effectively and create a culture of constructive feedback?
Time it right
Don't drop in to give ad-hoc feedback when someone is in the middle of a project, don't pass comment as you're walking past a monitor, it puts people on edge and causes unnecessary stress. Wait till the work is ready for review and at that stage make sure the right people comment. As a leader it can be tempting to offer an opinion on everything, but if you're not an expert your perspective might just muddy the water.
Vague is not helpful
Clear, specific, and actionable feedback will avoid endless revisions and creative frustration. Vague comments like 'I don't like it' or 'It just doesn't feel right' aren't useful, take time to interrogate your instincts and offer reasons and context. Reference back to the aims of the project, the audience and supporting data.
Ask questions and try to get the heart of the thinking behind the work you're giving feedback on. It can help to open up dialogue and open up channels for collaborating and solving challenges together.
Be honest but kind
No-one likes being told they haven't hit the brief, so feedback should be honesty delivered in a kind and respectful way. If there's something about the concept or design that you love make sure you tell them. And when you think something isn't working provide good reasons, discuss them and try to avoid making it personal. Instead of saying 'You haven't hit the brief' put the focus on the work e.g. 'The concept doesn't hit the brief'.