In an optimal organization, constructive feedback is a healthy blend of praise for achievement, suggestions for improvement in work performance, and discipline for correcting bad behavior.
Additionally, constructive feedback have a positive effect on employees in the workplace. It leads them in the right direction, drives motivation, as well as promotes trust, work ethics, and better performance. It also makes employees feel supported and appreciated.
Furthermore, people tend to achieve more if they know better and learn from others. The essence of constructive feedback is to mold us into mature and productive individuals.
But in order to drive constructive feedback, managers have to master the art of having difficult conversations with employees and offering them meaningful praise and correction in the right measure.
The aim of this article is to open your eyes to how to give constructive feedback in the workplace with practical examples, both as a superior and as a colleague.
What is constructive feedback?
Constructive feedback is a response to action with the aim of modeling positive behavior and better performance. In other words, it is a reaction or response to a person’s actions with the aim of helping them realize what they can do better and how to do it.
It shouldn’t be a direct attack against someone, rather it should focus on the work.
Constructive feedback can come as praise or criticism. Praise is an appreciation for a job well done.
When employees have done a good job, telling them a thank you, or giving a positive comment about what they did right is a great morale booster. It makes them feel appreciated and valued, which, in turn, empowers them to do more.
Criticism on the other hand is reproving an individual for wrongdoing. Unlike praise, criticism requires extra care because poor execution may cause negativity in the workplace.
However, criticism is really important as a form of feedback because it helps shape individual or employee behavior in the right direction. Criticism done right enhances learning, showing employees where they need to develop themselves more.
Hence, proper criticism should be anchored on care and a sincere desire to see individuals become better. Rather than a personal or sentimental opinion that depicts resentment.
Examples of Constructive feedback
Listed here are pragmatic examples of positive and negative feedback:
1. Sarah has been showing up late to work for days this week and this has affected her team’s work effort.
” Hi Sarah, I noticed you come later than usual to work this past few days which has caused you to miss important meetings and affected your team’s workflow. I’d love to know the cause of this and how I can help you out. I’ll also like to see you resume work earlier subsequently.”
” Sarah, you have been resuming late to work recently and it is really annoying. Your team has not been meeting up the target because of you. You must ensure to be early to work henceforth, else I’ll take extreme measures.”
2. James has been committed to working overtime, but hasn’t been meeting up with deadlines and seem demotivated recently.
” Hello John, I appreciate your work so far in the organization. You’ve been doing a good job. But I am concerned about your recent drop in performance. You have not been meeting up with target as usual. Can you open up to me about what challenges you’re facing and how I can help you perform better?”
“James, you have been slacking on your duties recently and it shows you have lost passion for your job. You need to adjust and get back to being productive again, else you’ll get sanctioned.”
3. Carol fails to acknowledge receipt of emails severally, barely responds to messages, and doesn’t communicate with his team lead on the progress of his job.
” HI carol, I noticed that you rarely reply work emails and messages and you do not communicate the progress of your job as you should. I’ll like to call your attention to this as I expect you to know that two-way communication is what drives workflow productivity and efficiency. Always respond immediately to messages and carry your team lead along with work progress every day. I’ll love for you to pick a convenient time for us to take if you need further help with your current task or look for better solutions as regards this.”
“Carol, I wonder why you find it difficult to respond to work emails and messages. You do not carry your team lead along with your work progress and you slow down your team’s progress. Stop being nonchalant about work, and always respond swiftly to messages.”
4. Jordan is a great employee but prefers to work independently and gets into fight when working with a team.
“Hi Jordan, your efforts and contributions to this organization are noteworthy, I must commend you. However, I’ll like to encourage you to do better when working with a team. The rancor between you and the team lead doesn’t speak well and is certainly not good for the organization. The success of each team is what keeps this organization moving forward. I’ll recommend a course on teamwork and collaboration for you to improve your teamwork ability. Kindly, fix a time for us to talk about what transpired with your team head.”
” Jordan, your team lead reported how rude you were to her in the last meeting. This is to warn you against repeating such action again. I may be forced to take drastic measures the next time I get such complaint again.”
5. George relies too much on others for his task and he is becoming too burdensome to them.
“Hello George, I love your attitude towards work. You are open to learning and you do great in a team. However, I’ll like to urge you to try to work more independently as this would help you become more innovative and creative. You can do always research from Google, or get insights from YouTube to guide you when working. If you are still not sure about what to do, then you can reach out to me and I’ll be glad to help.”
“George, why do prefer to bother others so much about your work. You are getting paid as much as they, so I expect it to fix your problem by yourself.”
6. Marine has been meeting up deadlines, however, has work has been laced with errors this past days.
“Hi Maurine, I’ll like to commend how fast your turn out work. You always manage to beat up deadlines and meet targets and that’s great for our team. But I have been noticing errors in your work recently and I want to call your attention to it. Please, go through your work at least twice or more before sending them to me. You can read your work out loud more than once to ensure that it is error-free.”
“Maurine, why has your work been filled with so many errors recently? You need to pay attention to work. Having to correct errors in your work is tiring and time-wasting.”
7. Sam misses a meeting without prior notice or permission
“Hi Sam, I didn’t see you in the meeting today and you failed to give prior notification or take any permission for your absence. I am sure you know that you must have missed some important discussions and information passed during the meeting. Ensure you meet your team lead to bring you up to speed with the latest developments and discussions from the meeting. Also, make sure to seek permission beforehand in case you’ll be absent next time.
“Sam, you were absent in the last meeting without permission. It shows how nonchalant you are about work. Let this not repeat itself again”
8. John joined the company six months ago but he doesn’t contribute in meetings unless he is forced to talk.
“Hi John, you’ve been doing a great job ever since you joined our organization. Only that, I’ll love you to be more outspoken in meetings. You are obviously intelligent and your insight would help us come up with better strategies to move the organization forward. I’ll appreciate whatever contributions you make and if you have any personal opinions that you’ll like to share with me privately, I’ll love to hear them.”
“John, you have not been contributing in any way to our conversations during the meeting. Are you sure you’re interested in the progress of this organization? Make sure to come prepared with insights for the next meeting.”
How To Give Constructive Feedback
1. Appreciate the employee
Before reproving an employee on their wrong, find out their strength or whatever it is that they are doing right and compliment them on that first. This creates a positive atmosphere for you to communicate your displeasure and makes employees take your criticism without feeling bad about it.
2. State your observation
Clearly highlight what you have noticed or heard but avoid being insensitive and annoying.
3. Explain the impact of their actions
While some employees may understand that they have done something wrong, some may not know that what they are doing is wrong. Therefore, it is important to tell them the effect of their actions on the organization and others.
4. Proffer a solution
Because the goal of constructive feedback is to help employees learn from their mistakes and improve on them, it is essential not to end the conversation on a wrong note. Therefore, suggest ways by which they can improve on their shortcomings.
5. Give chance for response or feedback
Finally, after offering a solution to them, leave the door open for them to speak with you if they want to. You can end by saying you’d love to hear from them in case they wish to share their challenges with you.
This is a way of showing that you truly care about them and are not only concerned about work. As you result, you earn employees’ trust and motivate them to work better.
When should you give constructive feedback?
Give constructive feedback every time you see a need for it.
For instance, if an employee doesn’t meet up with a target for two months consecutive, it is expedient to reach out to them to know what the problem is.
Is constructive feedback the same as criticism?
No, they are not totally the same.
While criticism disapproves of what an individual has done without offering guidance or solutions for improvement, constructive feedback focuses on learning and improving.
Why is constructive feedback important?
When employers and senior staff give honest appraisals of staff without trampling on their self-esteem or making them feel bad and demotivated, they indirectly train the employee to be unruffled by huge pressure.
This boosts their self-esteem, motivates them to learn new skills, and provides a safe haven for them to build their confidence to bounce back after a string of errors or mistakes.
Feedback is essential for fostering learning and improving performance. However negative feedback demoralizes employees and affects performance.
Hence, learning and mastering the art of giving constructive feedback is key to driving positive improvement and performance.
Additionally, not many employers remember to commend their employees for doing a good job.
Frankly, showering praises on employees in the right measure gives them the needed push to work harder and assures them that they are doing the right thing.
Giving appraisal on employee demonstration of hard and soft skills contributes to better performance, sustainability, and profitability in the organization.
Finally, you should read the article on the qualities of a good manager if you hope to improve as a manager.
Thanks for reading.