How to Give Constructive Feedback to Employees: A Guide for Managers (With Examples)
Being a manager is about more than telling people what to do. It’s also (and some may say primarily) about helping your team grow and improve so they can be more effective and achieve superior results for the company. Delivering feedback is central to being able to do this as a manager. But not any kind of feedback will do. To be most effective at helping your team grow and improve, your feedback needs to be constructive. Here’s what constructive feedback for employees should look like.
Constructive Feedback Is Specific and Objective
Don’t just say “awesome,” “good job,” or “needs improvement.” Tell your team members exactly what they did well and where they can improve.
Example: “You speak clearly, you’re a great listener, and you’re definitely a team player. But I notice in our department meetings, you often don’t say anything unless prompted. I know you have a lot of great ideas, but you seem reserved to share them. We want to hear them! Can you share at least one of them at next week’s meeting?”
Constructive Feedback Focuses on Actions, Not Personality
No one wants to be told they’re unreliable or hard-headed. That can feel like a punch straight to the gut. Stick to giving feedback on specific actions that they took and specific actions they could take to improve.
Example: “For the Q4 marketing project, you really stepped up and helped us get a lot done in a major time crunch. But I think you’ll agree, you might have said yes to helping a few too many teammates. People see you as someone who raises their hand to help, which is admirable, but I think it would be best if you try not to overextend yourself for this next project. What do you think?”
Constructive Feedback Is Best Served in a Sandwich
Another way to make feedback more palatable is to use the “sandwich” approach. Start with a positive comment, then offer a suggestion for improvement, and end on a positive note.
Example: “Your presentation was engaging and entertaining, but let’s work on making the content more concise. Using data and graphs might help you zero in on the most important ideas. Overall, though, it was a great job!”
Constructive Feedback Is Timely
Don’t wait too long to offer feedback. The sooner you address an issue, the easier it will be to fix. Plus, waiting too long can lead to more serious problems.
Example: “Overall, you did a good job leading our client call this morning. But you told the client we would deliver something by a certain date without consulting the design department first. I love that client service is a priority to you, but it would have been better to say, ‘Let me check with the design department and get back to you on that.'”
Constructive Feedback Is a Two-Way Street
Encouraging dialogue is another way to make feedback more effective. Give your team members a chance to ask questions and provide their own feedback. Not only does this make the process more collaborative, but it also shows that you value their input.
Example: “Good job on the sales report. You incorporated a lot of the changes the board requested, but we had to rework a few parts of your draft. There were some parts that missed the mark a bit. How can I do a better job communicating my expectations? And what do you think you need from me going forward to make sure you understand future assignments?”
Constructive Feedback Offers Many Benefits
As this article explains, the importance of constructive feedback for employees can’t be overstated. Good feedback guides your employees in the right direction, helps create a climate of trust and transparency, encourages good performance, and shows you care.
And the best way to get better at delivering good feedback is to practice delivering constructive feedback. Ramp up your feedback efforts with help from G360 Surveys. We have various survey options that you can customize for your organization’s needs today.