Career Tips from Co-Workers Show Room for Improvement

September 28, 2008

Career tips are most valuable when they are specific and come from people who are familiar with your industry or working environment.

Career Feedback

Readers were inquiring about the results of the 360 degree feedback survey I ran when I left my job so I thought I’d share some of the responses.  A little background, I was a team lead in my last position and was responsible for a group of software developers, ranging in size from 3 – 6 people over the last several years.

Self Improvement

One of the questions I asked was, “Name and explain 3 things I need to work on professionally that would make me a better person to work with.” Here are some of the things other team leads and some of my team members think I need to improve on:

Be less tolerant of poor performance from your direct reports.
Related to above, don’t step in and ‘save’ your direct reports too often. They need to be accountable for their mistakes.

I sometimes struggle with delegation and in an effort to make each project successful I would step in and help carry the load of their projects if they were behind their due dates.  There were a few cases where projects were behind due to poor performance of team members and I should have done a better job addressing their weak points so it wouldn’t happen again in the future.

1.  Better organizational skills, his desk looks like mine 🙂
2.  Work more with junior developers to make them more self sufficient.

My desk was definitely messy : )  I need to come up with a filing system at my next job.  Going back to the first response, I let my team members lean on me too much, I should have done more to “get them out of the nest”.

The only thing I think you need to work on are verbal (speak more clearly and loudly) and written (make documents more universally readable)communication skills

I do tend to mumble when I’m thinking out loud; I need to work on my annunciation when I speak.  I’ll have to follow up on the “make documents more universally readable” point and see what they meant.  Maybe I put too much unexplained technical jargon in documents.

As my team lead and coworker I seriously have had zero issues with you but if I have to come up with something that will help you professionally, the only thing I can think of is talk slower at times, Not all of us can keep up 🙂

I mentioned that I mumble when I’m thinking out loud, I also tend to talk really fast when I’m excited or “in the zone” and solving problems.  I need to remember to take deep breaths between sentences if I feel like I’m talking too fast.

The only other thing i can thing of is showing confidence in your answers and decisions . not that you were really weak in this area, but once again, something that might need to be better developed as you move up…”

Of course being in charge means you have to make decisions, something I’m not always the best at. Some days are better than others but there were definitely times when I’d go back and forth before making a big decision about a project or issue.  I need to come up with a systematic way of analyzing decisions and gauging risk that will allow me to make faster decisions.

Feedback Results

The responses are still coming in but so far my survey has shown me areas where I can improve my communication, organization, leadership, and delegation skills.  I’ll share some of the other results later in the week.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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