I just had a situation where I had requested a document from a direct's direct (in order to be efficient). The direct's direct sent the document with a very obvious and sort of careless error. I reminded them of the error (I admit my feedback was too direct) and the direct's direct was argumentative that the mistake was not obvious and when I asked to explain why they thought so, their response was "they are too busy to explain". This happened over messenger but was a bit of a tantrum. This person has a reputation for tantrums, although is a talented prospect.

How would you deal with this situation as the person is not my direct? 


jazzlover's picture

Since you observed the behaviour, it's best for you to comment to your "skip" directly rather than delivering the feedback via your direct. However I'd suggest briefing your direct/their boss first about it. If they're a good manager, they may have a reason for dealing with this sooner, or might recommend later. If they agree that it should be addressed sooner, then your direct should be in the room when you do it.

That's my $0.02

williamelledgepe's picture

I have two thoughts - neither of which help with a path forward - but I hope they help.  

First - I could be misinterpreting but it sounds like your feedback may have included the phrase "obvious mistake."  Feedback should be an observation of fact.  "Obvious mistake" is not fact; it is a judgement of fact.  Take for example the following feedback: "When your report includes typos like fiscal year 2071 instead of fiscal year 2017 your audience won't trust other details."  That feedback describes a simple example of an "obvious mistake" - but it doesn't use the word obvious because obvious can be debated.  What is obvious to one person is not always obvious to another.  In the podcast on feedback (, M&M recommend providing feedback on behaviors which they define as "words they say, how they say them, facial expressions, body language, and work product."  Keeping the behaviors based on hard facts (for example: a typo), instead of judgements (such as "obvious") will reduce the pushback you get during feedback.

Second - feedback doesn't really work over IM.  You gotta hear their verbal answer to the first step in the model.  

Moving forward - when I get pushback on feedback I physically take a step back, put my arms up (elbows down, hands near-ish to my shoulders with palms facing forward), and say "OK" or "nevermind" or "don't worry about it" or something similar.  When I have messed up on feedback I drop that situation and call it a mulligan.  If it comes up again - I have an opportunity to provide more succinct, factual feedback at that later event.