The Art of Giving Feedback


Do you cringe at the idea of having to give someone feedback? Do you think of it as “negative”?

It is helpful to ask yourself, what the purpose of giving the feedback is. Are you helping someone by giving them information that they may not be aware of to assist them to grow? Or are you simply trying to criticize them? As a supervisor or manager, I’m hoping it’s the former – that you are simply assisting the other individual by offering information that can assist them to make a choice about their behaviour.

Keep in mind, sharing information on what a team member has done well is also feedback. Constructive feedback is offering honest information, whether in an area of strength or growth. One of the challenges is that we can become uncomfortable offering our insights as we are concerned about the conversation becoming difficult.

Here are a few tips on giving feedback:

  • Be timely –   It’s much easier for individuals to reflect on their behaviour when given the feedback closer to the situation. This will allow them to continue the desired behaviour and consider how to handle a similar situation differently in the future.
  • Always be specific – If a behaviour is a problem, describe it specifically. For example, don’t say “people are noticing that you are disruptive.” A better wording is “when you were raising your voice on the phone this morning, it seemed to disrupt others in the area.”
  • Don’t judge – Name the behaviour and ask the individual questions such as “I was concerned to know what caused you to raise your voice on the phone ?”
  • Be genuine – If you are concerned, say so and don’t try to sugar coat your information.  Be respectful, and be clear on what you are concerned about and what behaviour you want to see.

How have you experienced giving or receiving feedback?

I’d love to hear your stories – please share below any hints you might have based on your experiences.


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