Providing Appropriate Feedback to a Developer
Dave Gullo, Co-founder and CTO at VideoAmp was recently interviewed by Resolve to share his insights on how to work with a developer that reacts defensively to feedback. A member of the Resolve community posted this problem, asking for leadership advice:
A junior developer on my team frequently commits code that is below production standards. It’s understandable because he has limited experience. My problem is that he reacts defensively when I point out opportunities for improvement. He says things like “Well I wrote it this way because…”. Then I will push back with “Actually, it’s more efficient to do it this other way because…”.
We go back and forth several times — each of us trying to convince the other. Allowing low quality code to enter the codebase is not an option, so I start to become more forceful in order to get him to make the changes. Eventually, he grudgingly agrees to make the changes, but I come across as controlling while persuading him. He only agrees because I’m the boss.
This problem has persisted for about 4 months, and it has been diminishing his ownership over his work.
Ideally, the developer would embrace feedback. He would be curious to know what he could do better because it is an opportunity to improve the product and become a better software developer.
Take a look at what Dave has to say in the latest Weekly Digest of Leadership Challenges.