How to give constructive feedback

Our trusty Feedback-o-Meter from our Greater Collective workshops

Communicating effectively in team-based environments in the workplace is extremely vital for growth and wellbeing. However, one of the biggest factors that make us apprehensive to communicate effectively, is giving and receiving real-time feedback.

In fact, feedback and effective communication are one of the top-rated skill-sets to have as an employee as highlighted in the research conducted by Foundation of Young Australia (FYA) regarding the future of work. Over the past decade, FYA have found that ‘soft’ skills like great communication, interpersonal skills and giving feedback are what the strongest employees all mutually possess. Furthermore, FYA discovered that businesses that emphasise the importance of building and harnessing these skills have enjoyed an increased capacity of total employment.

Feedback is completely vital to the growth of a business because it enables a business to reflect on themselves, what to change, and how to implement those changes. While it is a vital and necessary asset to have, it often causes a lot of stress and problems due to people either misinterpreting constructive feedback and criticism as personal attacks. People’s ambiguity and also the subjectivity of the matter can make it confusing – and ineffective.

As underscored by Ben Wigert, lead performance management research at Gallup, “Employees need regular, formal and informal conversations with their manager. For instance, employees and managers can better understand expectations, workloads, priorities and roadblocks by completing informal, daily ‘quick connects’ lasting five to 15 minutes.”

Here are our tips for effective communication whether it be with your fellow co-worker or your wider team:

  1. Goals: Have a goal in mind for the conversation, so it doesn’t waver.
  2. Timing: Ask the other person if it is a good time for them to receive feedback. Do not give feedback just for the sake of it.
  3. Listening: Think of the 80:20 rule a little differently: 80% listening, 20% speaking.
  4. Situation: Always put your feedback into context. Determine the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of the situation that you are referring to.
  5. Behaviour: Characterise the specific behaviours that you want to address.
  6. Impact: Explain what the impact of the behaviour has been on both you and the wider team.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *