Wondering How to Give Constructive Feedback? Here’s How

by Kylee Stone Jun 27,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

In every workplace, feedback plays a critical role. It is significantly powerful because it can change the course of things, motivate someone to work harder; improve a product or a software. Without feedback, we’d be blind to faults, be they in ourselves, our products or our views.

Inspite it being so important and simple to implement, constructive feedback in the workplace seems to be visibly absent. Granted, it’s not absent from all workplaces, but there is a telling lack of it in most of them. Even if feedback is present but your employees are still unhappy and you cannot get that product off the ground, then you need to re-evaluate the frequency of feedback. Because insufficient feedback can be just as dangerous as no feedback.

It is necessary to cultivate the feedback habit in your workplace. And if you haven’t done it as yet, it’s not too late to do so.

Also read: Employee Engagement Software Can Enhance Work Culture

Defining constructive feedback:

There is feedback and then there is constructive feedback. One of the most common complaints about feedback in a workplace is that it’s not always constructive. Here is an example of an insufficient feedback-

Example: Manager Karen requests feedback about her managerial performance for the previous quarter. She gets back a comment or two saying that she needs to spend a few more hours in the office and that she needs to listen more.

Most people who receive such a feedback will be really baffled and bothered by it. This piece of feedback is really vague and is of no use because it does not suggest anything. It is a statement not a fact, which is very open to interpretation. And that is not what feedback is about.

Constructive feedback looks more like this:

Example: Karen requests feedback from her boss about her managerial performance for the last quarter. Karen’s boss replies:

“I really appreciated the work you did on the Clements account. You showed considerable dexterity in navigating what could have been a disastrous situation. You’ve also shown that you are capable of leading a team very well. I’ve received praise about your skills as a leader.

I would like to make a suggestion however. I do realize that you are decisive and confident. However, it also sometimes leads you to make hasty decisions. I would like you to make a habit of listening more, especially to your team members. I believe it is a skill that could serve you in good stead.”

Why is this feedback better?

This feedback lists out what Karen’s boss has noticed about her performance. It points out the good and the negative, and also offers a solution to that problem. If Karen read this, she would know what she’s doing right and what she’s not and as a result, she’d know what she needs to improve upon.

Also read: Continuous Performance Management: A necessity during COVID-19

Constructive feedback needs to become a habit. One way to ensure it does is to attach something of value to it. Communicate to your employees that they too will be evaluated on the feedback they give. This way they will be motivated to give valid and constructive feedback. Nobody wants sycophants in the workplace. And learning to give constructive feedback is one way of ensuring that. It weeds out all the perpetual yay-sayers and the naysayers.

Another way of making sure feedback plays a big role in your workplace and organization is to institute a giving and receiving feedback training programme. In all probabilities, maybe your employees do want to give feedback or receive it, but they just don’t know how. A training programme should clear a lot of doubts and be helpful especially for people who struggle with giving feedback and for those who are not used to receiving it and as a result, don’t know how to handle it.

The goal is to help people realize that feedback does not mean harsh words or strictures. The mantra you need to repeat is this is, feedback is important. Begin using it regularly, and it won’t be long before you notice what difference it makes in your organization.

In case you wish to know how Engagedly can help you inculcate an easy and effective feedback system in your organization, just fill the form below and give us a shout.

Engagedly is offering a suite of products part of its Remote Work Toolkit free to any organisation, until Sept 30th, 2020. 

The Coronavirus has affected the way we work today and for months to come. Unprecedented events require unprecedented measures. We at Engagedly believe it is our responsibility as socially conscious corporate citizens to help equip organisations with additional tools and resources during this time of crisis.

Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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