5 Approaches on Giving Constructive Feedback


Giving constructive feedback is probably the most challenging aspect of the job of any manager or leader.

Employee engagement depends on this and in order for teams to develop, constructive feedback is necessary. It can be difficult to be able to offer feedback that is not always positive, however, employees will respect and value a leader who can offer effective feedback. It can practice, but any manager or team leader can be successful at offer positive feedback and honest feedback that will make the employee a better performer.

­Using our behavior assessments can help understand your employees’ strongest behavioral drives, which in turn informs you on the best way to offer feedback and anticipate how they receive feedback.

Planning and preparing when and how to offer constructive feedback will help managers approach employees to help grow and improve them. Here are five approaches:

Don’t Rush Positive Feedback – It’s important to let positive feedback sit with your team member/team. The great thing about positive feedback is that it does not have to be rushed and it does not need to have a particular setting – it lands best when it’s delivered in a timely, specific, and truthful manner, positive feedback needs a space to breathe.

Feedback should be given clearly and come genuinely with highlights emphasized. Describe the impact that the employee has – share your observations on how their actions and performance are working to meet company goals and initiatives. Validation that is thoughtful and specific can improve engagement and promote discretionary effort.

Take an unassuming approach

In a feedback session, providing clarity or context begins effective feedback and these two sides are necessary. State the facts that you have as a manager and offer the opportunity to give your team to explain the other side. In your employee revealing insights and rationale, you will be better equipped, and therefore confident in coaching them on how to approach situations in the future.

Avoid questions that lead to an answer or may be perceived as assumptive. Questions that gear towards an answer will trigger a team members’ defenses. Questions can be softened with phrases that are open ended, suggesting to the employee the opportunity to speak and may help all employees involved, to learn and develop in the organization.

Feedback should be timely – It’s common to wait to long to offer feedback. Feedback should be given in a situation where a team member drops the ball, as opposed to waiting so long that the opportunity to address it has passed.

It can be a challenge to find the right moment, or space, but making timely feedback can resolve things easier, and builds trust between the manager and employee. While it may not be obvious, most employees will respect a supervisor who is direct, avoids procrastinating, or possible confrontation.

Giving feedback in real time can reduce how serious the conversations may become as they come one by one as opposed to a long list of things, which can make the employee feel attacked. Not only does timely feedback resonate, it helps employees learn and grow.

5 Approaches on Giving Constructive Feedback | Newland Associates | Executive Search | Outplacement | Predictive Index Partner | HR Consulting

Be honest with your communicationTrust or lack thereof can make or break a team. Avoiding or not being honest with feedback can leave room for more mistakes to occur. The best way to offer honest feedback is objectivity, offer a summary with questions that will offer a description such as explaining what happened? what actions led to the result? What are the consequences and what can be done differently in the future?

Holding on to the facts will not leave room for assumptions and accusations. In discussing facts, employees may even realize their own part and be able to hold themselves accountable.

It’s all about the details – Taking from personal experience to give feedback with details can always help. The best feedback is one that offers objectivity and detail. Sharing experience and offering actionable lessons will earn respect for leaders.

At the end of it, feedback can inspire growth, trust and leadership. It can exist at any level – everyone is focused on the company’s mission and describe how and where they are growing professionally. Remember to motivate employees based on how they are wired and reach out in their preferred way of communication.

This will mitigate any fear of giving negative feedback and strengthen channels of communication to offer positive feedback. The goal is always to see your team grow and improve from the evaluations you’ve offered.

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