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Video Tip: How Often Should I Give Feedback?

Speaking earlier this year at Slack, who is also one of our investors, I got a question about the frequency of feedback:

I feel like I don’t find that many opportunities where I can give someone constructive feedback. Am I just ignoring things? How often should one be doing this?

There is one rule of thumb that applies to criticism in general, but is especially good advice when you’re really busy and nerves are frayed. It’s best summed up by advice a friend’s godfather gave her at her wedding. “If it’s brown flush it down. If it’s yellow let it mellow.” She got married on an island with a poor septic system, and this was a sign by all the toilets. But as her godfather said, “These are words to live by. If there’s a big stinking problem talk about it before it fouls your relationship. But if it’s a small thing, let it go.”

You don’t need to nitpick every little thing, but if you see something that matters, tell the person.

If you want to set a specific goal, try praising someone 3-4 times a week and giving them 1 piece of criticism. And remind yourself not to repress feedback – give it immediately.

Here’s my full answer to this question:

Kim Scott

Kim Scott is the author of Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity and co-founder of the company Radical Candor. Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and DoubleClick teams at Google. She's also managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo and started a diamond-cutting factory in Moscow. She lives with her family in Silicon Valley. In addition to Radical Candor, she is the author of three novels and the forthcoming leadership book Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fair, available March 16, 2021 from St. Martin’s Press.