How to Provide Constructive Feedback to Employees

Laptop with the word 'Feedback' and paper airplane symbol displayed. The background has data spreadsheets in back. Text: How to Provide Constructive Feedback to Employees

The benefits of providing constructive feedback are extensive. It is a great way to improve communication and trust between you and your employees. It’s also a powerful way to help your team members understand what’s expected of them and how they can grow their skills. Unfortunately, but understandably, it is sometimes neglected due to the discomfort it can cause everyone involved.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some tips to help you, as a leader or manager, provide effective feedback to your employees.

Choose an Appropriate Place and Time

Picking the right environment for this type of feedback is crucial. Although recognizing employees publicly for their dedication or achievements can help them feel appreciated and motivated, no one likes to be negatively pointed out in front of their peers or coworkers. It’s important to choose a private space to hold these discussions. Additionally, for more significant feedback you may not want to choose a casual environment, as this might downplay the seriousness of your input.

Don’t Wait

You should give feedback when it’s still fresh in your mind. By communicating right away, employees will know immediately that there is an issue and will be able to make changes, accordingly. By waiting for their annual appraisal to discuss it, they may be overwhelmed with feedback that is no longer relevant or cannot recall the instance; whereas avoiding the issue altogether to avoid upsetting the recipient will result in the situation becoming more difficult to resolve in the future.

Stay Calm and Collected

One exception to the rule above is if you are particularly frustrated or annoyed. If something has triggered an emotional reaction, it’s better to wait until you can engage calmly. If you give feedback when you are upset, you may risk being unfair or uncharacteristically rude. This would muddle the message you’re trying to get across and be unpleasant for everyone involved.

 Make It Specific and Performance-Related

Especially with negative feedback, critiques of a specific behavior are much more effective than general critiques. You don’t want your feedback to feel like an attack on their character.

 Give It Often

When it comes to constructive feedback, more is more. Giving frequent positive feedback is a crucial part of performance management and is a great way to encourage employee engagement. Tactful negative feedback helps your employees improve and ultimately leads to a productive and positive work environment.

Highlight the Positive

Some suggest the “sandwiching technique” of placing a negative piece of feedback between two positive ones. This is not the best approach because it might cause your message to get lost, and it might also come off as insincere. Instead, focus on using tact when communicating negative feedback, and give positive feedback frequently when you notice that someone is doing good work. Even if it seems like a small thing, such as appreciating that an employee is always on time, positive feedback is a powerful tool.

Be Receptive

Constructive feedback should be a two-way street. Encouraging your employees to give you feedback will create a healthy workplace. It will also enable you to grow your skills and become an even better leader.

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