#TuesdayThinks: How to give feedback with empathy.

02 Mar 2021 | Tips & Tricks

#TuesdayThinks: How to give feedback with empathy.

By Nikki Burton

Every Tuesday we think some thinks and round up some top tips.

Feedback is a valuable part of any creative process, but if not managed correctly, it can hurt people, create conflicts and ultimately derail projects. Well-managed feedback is crucial to our collaborative culture, so at Perq Studio we’ve put a few things in place to help us.

For one ‘playing devil’s advocate’ is a phrase we’ve banned in the studio. If we have an opinion, we own it; we don’t hide behind making wild assumptions and role-playing as the client.

We also encourage simple, but effective language shifts, such as ‘Yes, and…’ instead of ‘Yes, but…’ And when marking up work, we never use red pen. It seems simple, but we all remember teachers scrawling over our work in red, so we make sure to avoid raising those negative connotations.

These examples show that you don’t need to implement heavy-handed systems to give effective feedback. Just a few shifts in your culture/language can create a safe space for your team to collaborate creatively, comfortably and effectively.

Why not try it for yourself? Here are my top tips for giving feedback to colleagues with emotional intelligence:

1. Empathise

Feedback is a two-way process, so make sure you put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes and display empathy. Pay attention to their body language and tone of voice. If they display certain emotions, then make sure you communicate that you’ve heard them and understand them.


For example, if they seem physically agitated about having to start something from scratch, vocalise that you appreciate it must feel frustrating to have to go back to the drawing board, but detail why it will be beneficial for everyone in the long run.

2. Work together

One of my favourite methods of giving feedback to creatives is to revisit the brief and take them through it again step-by-step. Often when we’re doing creative work our noses are so close to it that it’s difficult to take a step back and remember where we started and where we’re trying to get to. This process gently reminds the receiver that feedback isn’t about criticism, but simply to nudge the work in a direction that we agreed upon together!

3. Work on yourself

To be a good leader and give effective feedback it’s important that you never stop learning and working on yourself. You may already see yourself as an excellent communicator, but that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to get complacent. Make sure you’re always developing your conflict resolution skills, and know when to praise and build up your employees or when to be direct and honest. That’s how you inspire loyalty and creativity when you give feedback, rather than fear. And as compassionate leaders, that’s all we want, isn’t it?

At Perq Studio we have a creative culture that delivers results: and that spirit of collaboration extends to our clients, too. So if you want to partner with us to create something remarkable together, get in touch now!