Delivering constructive feedback at work

Delivering constructive feedback can be a challenge. If the managers are being too nice while delivering the feedback, then this can confuse the employee.

The goal is to deliver honest and encouraging criticism. It is a hard balance to achieve. Constructive feedback is a tool through which managers and their employees can engage to improve their performance. Good constructive feedback should focus on the job rather than focusing on delivering negative attacks.

If employees will be given constructive feedback at work, then they are more likely to be satisfied and productive in their jobs. Here’s how to deliver constructive feedback.

Constructive Feedback Examples

Following are some examples of delivering constructive feedback.

  • I had always been proud of your performance, and I do truly value you as a productive resource but now I have noticed some changes in your performance recently. I want to check if you are facing any challenges and how can I support you better. 
  • The client loves your design and drawings, Lily. They always wanted to see more from you and wanted you to start the meeting. I understand we are currently overloaded but try to come on time to be able to connect and collaborate with the client in their meetings.   

Constructive Feedback Surveys 

Gallup surveyed a workplace experience panel in 2018 and found the following results:

  • 15.5% of the employees are engaged after positive feedback.
  • 10.4% of the employees are engaged after negative feedback.
  • 3.6% of the employees look for other employment after receiving positive feedback.
  • 29.1% of the employees look for other employment after receiving negative feedback.
  • Only 14.5% of the managers strongly believe that they deliver constructive feedback.
constructive feedback at work

How to give constructive feedback

Following are the ways through which constructive and effective feedback can be given:

Communicate with confidence

When giving feedback either formal or informal you should always think for a second and ask yourself if you’re in the correct mindset to deliver feedback.

Diana Booher in her book “Communicate with Confidence” formulated some right and wrong reasons. For instance, ask yourself, if you are in a bad mood or want to defend your behavior. Then it will be a wrong reason to give feedback. Whereas, if you want to mentor and support your team then it is the right reason. 

Create psychological safety

Nobody likes receiving negative feedback even though it is well-intentioned. Therefore, it is highly recommended to create psychological safety before giving feedback.

Granny discussed in her Harvard Business review article that feedback should never be given until it’s invited. It means that while giving feedback one should also see if the other person is ready to receive it.

One can simply ask can I give you feedback? Furthermore, it is also recommended by Granny to state your intent for giving the feedback for example you can say I just want to make sure that I’m doing my best for you by giving you the feedback.

constructive feedback at work

Always start with wins

Feedback can be constructive if the managers start with a win. It means that he should always first praises his success and then come to areas that require improvement. Starting with criticism can be detrimental to employee and manager’s relationship.

The employee will feel demotivated and dissatisfied. This will ultimately affect his productivity. For instance, A manager should start the conversation like I appreciate the efforts you made on project Y, but I feel concerned about the specific process in project X which requires more diligence.  

In conclusion

Giving constructive feedback at work is not as easy as it sounds. Hence organizations should work on giving their managers continuous training so that they can give effective feedback to their employees.

Feedback is directly linked with productivity. If managers are not giving constructive feedback, then they would eventually see a decline in their performance. An anonymous survey should also be filled out by employees to know if they are given constructive feedback.

Here are some other articles you can read – What is a positive company culture.

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