10 Tips for Giving Constructive Feedback

Published on
Feb 27, 2023
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Making Your Feedback More Effective

Giving feedback is an important part of any employee relationship. In order to maintain a productive and positive work environment, it's essential to give feedback that is both timely and constructive.

Formal and Informal Feedback

Feedback is typically given in one of two ways:

1. Formal feedback - This is typically a more formal process, such as a review or meeting, where the manager and employee sit down and discuss the employee's performance.

2. Informal feedback - This is more informal, and can take place in any number of settings, such as during a conversation or over email.

Informal feedback should be given as soon as possible after the event has occurred. With tools like WorkStory, teams can collect feedback continuously, making it more effective for employees.

No matter which method you choose, there are some general tips to keep in mind when giving feedback.

10 Tips and Tricks to Giving Constructive Feedback

1. Make a point to give feedback regularly.

Feedback should be timely, not just when there's a problem to be addressed. It needs to be done consistently to make it work. Using WorkStory, you are able to consistently give feedback as opposed to waiting to do all of it at once, missing out on vital information from earlier in the week, month, year.

An example is providing feedback on a project immediately after it is completed, rather than waiting until the next review.

2. Be specific with your feedback.

Avoid general comments, like "great work" or "this needs improvement." Provide details of your observation.

Instead, make it specific and phrase it in terms of behavior or results. For example, "I noticed that you didn't submit your report on time" or "You received a high score on this test."

3. Avoid using judgmental language.

Comments like "you're irresponsible" or "you're incompetent" will only make the employee defensive and less likely to listen to your feedback.

What you can say instead is "I noticed that you didn't submit your report on time" or "You can still improve on your score."

4. Avoid personal attacks.

Just like judgmental language, personal attacks will only make the employee defensive and less likely to listen to your feedback. Stick to the facts.

For example, "You're always late" is a personal attack, while "I noticed you were late for our meeting" is not.

5. Avoid using "you" statements.

When giving feedback, it's important to avoid using "you" statements, which sound confrontational. For example, "You didn't submit your report on time" sounds like you're blaming the employee.

Instead, use "I" statements, as in "I recognized that you didn't complete your work on time." I statements convey your willingness to take responsibility.

It's also best to avoid using "always" or "never." These words are absolutes, and employees will often feel like they can't do anything right if you use them.

6. Be aware of your tone of voice and body language.

Avoid sounding judgmental or angry, and try to maintain a positive demeanor.

The ideal body language for constructive criticism is open and relaxed, without crossing your arms or appearing judgmental.

7. Give the employee time to respond.

Let them ask questions and offer their own feedback before moving on to the next topic.

This not only shows that you're interested in their thoughts, but it also allows them to reflect on what you've said.

8. Be prepared to listen to what the employee has to say.

If they have suggestions for improvement, be open to hearing them and incorporating them into your management style. At the beginning of the feedback session, you can ask the employee if they have any thoughts or suggestions. You can also ask them how they feel they're doing overall.

9. Follow up after giving feedback.

Check in with the employee a week or so after giving them feedback to see if they've had a chance to implement any changes.

10. Be patient.

It may take time for the employee to fully incorporate your feedback into their work. Try not to be too critical if they don't get it right the first time.

Giving feedback is an important part of any manager-employee relationship, but it can be difficult to know how to give constructive feedback effectively. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your feedback is timely, specific, and helpful in improving employee performance.

How to Know If Your Feedback System Works

Giving feedback is an important part of any manager-employee relationship, but it can be difficult to know if your feedback session is effective. Here are a few ways to tell if your feedback is having the desired effect:

1. The employee seems engaged and interested in the feedback.

2. The employee asks questions about the feedback and seems eager to improve their performance.

3. The employee takes steps to correct the behavior or performance that was addressed in the feedback session.

4. The employee thanks you for giving them feedback and appears grateful for your input.

5. The employee's behavior or performance improves after the feedback session.

If you notice any of these signs, it's a good indication that your feedback was impactful and helpful in improving the employee's performance. However, if you don't see any improvement after giving feedback, don't be discouraged – sometimes it takes time for employees to fully implement changes. Be patient and continue to give feedback in a supportive and constructive manner. You may also want to consider seeking out additional resources, such as training or development programs, to help the employee improve their performance.

Final Thoughts

It is vitally important to give feedback to your employees, and the method and timing of it matters. With WorkStory you can make sure feedback is being gathered where and when most appropriate so that your team can actually benefit. Try WorkStory now for 30 days to see how it can make a difference with your team.

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