Setting Expectations for Constructive Feedback

Published on
Mar 22, 2024
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Constructive feedback is a crucial aspect of communication. It provides employees with guidance and helps them develop their skills, while also ensuring that the organization achieves its goals.

However, giving feedback can be a challenging task for managers and employees alike.

In this post, we will explore what constructive feedback is, what it looks like, and how managers can educate team members on providing constructive feedback effectively.

What is Constructive Feedback?

Constructive feedback is feedback that is specific, timely, actionable, and delivered in a respectful and supportive manner.

It is intended to help the recipient improve, rather than criticize or judge.

This type of feedback can be contrasted with destructive feedback, which is often vague, harsh, or personal, and can be demotivating for the receiver.

Setting Expectations for Constructive Feedback

To make sure that constructive feedback is a valued part of your company's culture, it's important to set expectations.

Here are some ways you can communicate these expectations:

  1. Include constructive feedback as a core value or competency: Make it clear that giving and receiving feedback is an essential part of the work environment.
  2. Provide training on how to give and receive feedback: Offer workshops or resources to help team members develop their feedback skills.
  3. Incorporate feedback into regular performance reviews: Make sure feedback is a regular part of ongoing performance discussions.

How to Provide Constructive Feedback

Providing constructive feedback requires skill and tact. Here are some steps you can follow to give feedback in a way that is specific, timely, actionable, and respectful:

  1. Be specific about the behavior or issue you're addressing: Make sure you're clear about what you're addressing, so there is no confusion.
  2. Explain why the behavior or issue is a concern, and how it impacts the team or company: This helps the person receiving the feedback understand the bigger picture and why the behavior should be addressed.
  3. Offer suggestions for improvement: Provide actionable advice on how the behavior or issue can be improved. This is a key element to making sure feedback comes across as positive or helpful rather than destructive.
  4. End on a positive note, and express your confidence in the person's ability to improve: This ensures that the person receiving the feedback feels supported and empowered.

We have another post, Five Tips for Giving Better Constructive Feedback, that provides additional ideas for how to get your team engaged around feedback for one another.

Examples of Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback can be provided in many different scenarios. For instance, if a team member delivers a presentation, a manager might offer feedback such as, "Your presentation was well-organized, but I think you could have used more visuals to engage the audience."

Or, if a team member produces a report, a manager might provide feedback like, "I appreciate the effort you put into this project, but I noticed some errors in the report. Let's work together to correct them."

These examples of feedback are specific, actionable, and delivered in a supportive and respectful manner.

Cultivate Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is like a guiding light that illuminates the path towards growth and success. By shining this light on the behavior or issue that needs improvement, team members can navigate their way towards improvement with specific, actionable advice.

However, giving and receiving feedback can sometimes feel like navigating a treacherous path, filled with pitfalls and obstacles.

That's why it's important to cultivate a culture that values constructive feedback, and equip team members with the skills and resources they need to navigate this terrain with confidence.

Try to get your team to embrace constructive feedback as a key driver of growth, and pave the way towards a more beneficial development experience.


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