8

I'm writing a review for a co-worker. This co-worker's weakness is they tend to over-explain problems and use a lot of words when few are required. Although they want to provide full context and lots of precise language, the message tends to get lost in the verbiage.

Being this is a co-worker, and my feedback is not anonymous, I want to express this concern in a tactful way. However, I'm struggling to express this in a way that doesn't sound like "you talk too much"

Are there standard ways of expressing this concern?

Update:

My employer has a standard peer review feedback process and this person has asked for feedback from me (and presumably others). The process explicitly asks the reviewer to identify a peer's strengths and areas for improvement. Although I could avoid discussing their weakness, I see that as reducing the value of the peer review process since there's no opportunity to improve.

  • why are you reviewing a coworker? Is he/she going to be reviewing you? What is the context? – Kilisi Dec 6 '18 at 0:26
  • 2
    @Kilisi - My employer's regular review process involves both managerial feedback and peer feedback. – Craig Dec 6 '18 at 1:03
  • 3
    One thing to keep in mind is some people think while they're talking. I mean literally, they have to express themselves to form their thoughts. We all do that to some degree, but maybe your colleague needs this more than others. – rath Dec 6 '18 at 8:26
  • 3
    I perfectly know the type of your colleague. I bet that not only that he talks a lot, using a lot of words, some of which are oddly precise, not well known though, but he's also writing long emails in the same style, but with more structure. If you'd get to know him better, you'll figure that he's way faster in writing. Most likely, he's faster than anyone else you know. – Andrei Dec 6 '18 at 16:42
13

This co-worker's weakness is they tend to over-explain problems and use a lot of words when few are required. Although they want to provide full context and lots of precise language, the message tends to get lost in the verbiage. Being this is a co-worker, and my feedback is not anonymous, I want to express this concern in a tactful way

I would word it as the co-worker could work on being more concise in their communication and providing less unnecessary context. It would be best to provide a scenario where this was especially detrimental to a project or a company.

This type of feedback though is better when expressed by multiple people otherwise it just seems like a subjective preference.

6

Unless you have something to gain or there are serious issues. I would advise you just dwell on your colleagues strengths.

This issue does not warrant potentially making an enemy. It's just communication and not even a communication issue where information is not given, but one where it's given in a non optimal way in your personal opinion.

It can look like your dredging for something negative to say about your colleague, which is never a good look. You would not enjoy your colleagues dragging the bottom of the barrel for something bad to say about you.

Are there standard ways of expressing this concern?

Yes, directly with the person at the time, asking for a summary or clarification. Not behind their back on an official review.

  • As noted in the updated question, my peer requested feedback from me; I'm not actively looking to undermine someone. Further, as the feedback is not anonymous, I don't see how it would be behind their back. I do think your point re: communication being non optimal is helpful as there may be value in emphasizing that the communication concern isn't a "big deal". – Craig Dec 6 '18 at 16:33
  • You saved me from writing an answer. I would add that the OP was told that "The process explicitly asks the reviewer to identify a peer's strengths and areas for improvement". Doing the opposite of what one is asked, is simply doing a bad job. If one cannot do the job, they better refuse it. – Andrei Dec 6 '18 at 16:33
  • 1
    @Andrei - In all fairness to Kilisi, I posted the Update section only a few minutes ago so the explicit requirement to provide areas for improvement may not have been clear in the initial question. – Craig Dec 6 '18 at 16:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.