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Home » How to give constructive feedback: A practical guide for leaders

How to give constructive feedback: A practical guide for leaders

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As a leader, providing feedback is an essential part of your role in helping your team members grow and develop. However, giving feedback that is constructive, specific, and actionable can be challenging. Poorly delivered feedback can demotivate employees and harm team morale. On the other hand, effective feedback can lead to improved performance, increased engagement, and greater job satisfaction.

In this article, we will explore practical strategies for delivering constructive feedback that empowers your team members to reach their full potential. Learn how to provide feedback that inspires growth and development, while strengthening your team’s bond and boosting productivity.

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Feedback is a crucial aspect of communication that enables individuals to grow and develop in various areas of their lives. Whether it is at work, school, or in personal relationships, feedback provides valuable insights that help people understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Remember: if you put off a difficult conversation or a well-deserved compliment, you are in serious danger of losing your team leadership.

What is feedback?

Feedback is a means of two individuals communicating about another person’s conduct or performance in order to assist that person maintain or enhance their performance and also it can come from a variety of people, including supervisors, employees, classmates, friends, and family members  it can either be positive or negative.

Types of feedback

There are several types of feedback, including:

  • Positive feedback: This type of feedback highlights a person’s strengths and accomplishments and is used to reinforce positive behavior.
  • Negative feedback: This kind of feedback focuses on attitudes and actions that an individual needs to alter, and in this instance, advice and direction are given on how this might be done.
  • Constructive feedback: This type of feedback is focused on helping a person improve their performance and behavior.

Bad types of feedback

There are several bad types of feedback, including:

  1. Generic feedback: when the feedback is too vague and not specific, such as “you need to improve”. This type of feedback does not provide concrete information and leaves the employee without knowing what needs to be improved.
  2. Aggressive feedback: when feedback is given in a rude and aggressive manner, it can demotivate the employee and harm the relationship between the leader and the subordinate.
  3. Late feedback: when feedback is given a long time after the situation has occurred, it can be less effective and cause the employee not to remember what happened.
  4. Non-constructive feedback: when feedback does not provide concrete suggestions on how the employee can improve, it does not help the employee to grow and develop.
  5. Inconsistent feedback: when the feedback given by the leader is inconsistent over time, it can leave the employee confused and not knowing what to do to improve.

The importance of feedback

Personal growth and development

Feedback is fundamental for personal growth and development, because with it we can have a real perception of our strengths and weaknesses. People may use their strengths to accomplish their objectives when they are aware of them, while being aware of their flaws enables them to develop by focusing on those deficiencies.

Increased self-awareness

Feedback also promotes self-awareness, allowing us to comprehend our impact on others and highlight areas where we may improve our relationships.

Improved communication and relationships

Feedback helps to improve communication and relationships by individuals by providing insights into how their behavior is perceived by others. This understanding can help individuals adjust their communication style to be more effective and build stronger relationships.

Enhanced job performance

Feedback is critical to job performance as it provides employees with insights into how they can improve their.

How to give effective feedback

Be specific and objective

When giving feedback, it’s important to be specific and objective. Rather than making vague comments, provide concrete examples of specific behaviors or actions you’d like to see changed. When giving feedback you need to have a background, you cannot give feedback based on rumors like “I heard you did such a thing…”

Focus on behavior, not personality

Never forget this: feedback should be directed at the behavior, not the personality of the person. Rather to just telling someone what they are doing incorrectly, attempt to understand why they are doing so and then make suggestions on how to enhance their performance. People don’t always know what they need to accomplish, and in other circumstances, they may be doing something incorrectly since no one has ever guided them in the proper route, which is where you come in.

Offer suggestions for improvement

When giving negative feedback, offer constructive suggestions for improvement. Rather to just telling someone what they’re doing wrong, provide suggestions on how they may improve. Sometimes the individual does not know what they need to do, and this is where you come in to provide guidance.

Focus On How To Change

When providing feedback, shift the focus from dwelling on mistakes or shortcomings to discussing how to bring about positive change. Frame your feedback in a way that encourages learning and improvement. Emphasize actionable steps and suggestions for growth rather than dwelling on the negative aspects.

Have A Private Conversation

Privacy is essential when delivering constructive feedback. Find a suitable and confidential setting to have a one-on-one conversation with the individual. This helps maintain their dignity, reduces defensiveness, and promotes open and honest communication.

Build Bridges, Not Walls

Approach the feedback conversation with the intention of building bridges and fostering a positive relationship. Use empathetic language and express your genuine desire to help the individual grow. Emphasize that the feedback is not meant to criticize but to support their professional development.

Start With What Is Working

Begin the feedback conversation by acknowledging the individual’s strengths and areas of competence. Recognizing their achievements and positive contributions creates a positive tone and helps establish a receptive mindset. This approach also reinforces their confidence and motivation to improve.

Create Solutions Together

Involve the individual in the feedback process by encouraging their input and ideas. Collaboratively explore possible solutions and strategies for improvement. By involving them in the problem-solving process, you empower them to take ownership of their growth and development.

Should I use the “sandwich” technique?

First let’s describe the “sandwich” technique. This involves starting with a positive comment, followed by an area of improvement, and ending with another positive comment. In my opinion this is not good feedback and why? First, feedback should not be treated like a mathematical sum and subtraction account.

With this type of feedback, the person runs the risk of leaving the meeting confused, not knowing whether they received praise or criticism.

The person receiving the feedback needs to be sure of the following at the end:

  • What am I doing well and need to keep doing
  • What I didn’t do and I need to start doing now
  • What am I doing wrong and I need to stop doing it now

And these items above are the responsibility of the leader to make it clear to his employee exactly that, so that he has no doubt about what needs to be done to change behaviors.

Provide feedback in a timely manner

Feedback is most effective when it is provided in a timely manner. Don’t wait too long after an event to provide feedback, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the feedback. If something positive or negative happens, give feedback as soon as possible, this represents care, respect and affection for your leader, and he will make sure you are always around to help him.

How to receive feedback effectively

Listen Actively

When someone gives you criticism, it is vital that you listen attentively and nonjudgmentally, allowing the individual to speak and without responding mentally, since this will simply obstruct your grasp of the message. Pay attention to what is being said and avoid interrupting the person. This will allow you to fully understand the feedback and then take appropriate steps to improve.

Don’t take it personally

It’s natural to feel defensive or even personally attacked when you receive negative feedback. However, it’s important to remember that feedback is about your behavior or performance, not about you as a person. Try not to take it personally and use feedback as an opportunity to grow and improve.

Ask for clarification

If you don’t fully understand the feedback, it’s perfectly fine to ask for clarification. Ask the person giving the feedback to provide specific examples and suggestions for how you can improve. This will help ensure that you are correctly understanding the feedback and taking concrete steps to improve.

Act on feedback

Getting feedback is useless if you don’t act on it. Analyze the feedback you’ve received and start identifying specific ways to improve. Set realistic goals and take concrete steps to improve your performance. When you show that you are willing to act on feedback, it demonstrates that you are a mature and responsible professional.

Why feedback is important

Continuous improvement

Feedback is an essential tool for continuous improvement. It enables employees to examine their own performance, understand their own strengths and shortcomings, and choose which habits they should continue and which should be improved. In addition, feedback also helps to identify opportunities for improvement, such as training and skills development. With feedback, companies can create an environment for continuous learning and encourage innovation and creativity.

Personal and professional growth

Feedback is one of the best tools to evolve employees’ personal and professional growth. It enables individuals to recognize their strong behaviors and the weak behaviors that need to be developed in order for them to grow in their jobs. Additionally, feedback can help employees set realistic and achievable goals, as well as assess their progress against those goals.

Enhanced Relationships

It can also improve interpersonal relationships in the work environment. It allows employees to better understand each other’s expectations and work together to achieve common goals. In addition, feedback also helps to establish a culture of open and honest communication, where people feel comfortable expressing their opinions and suggestions.


Finally, feedback is a crucial tool to improve employee performance and contribute to business success. Providing regular, constructive feedback can help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what they need to do to improve and achieve their goals.

However, it is important to remember that feedback should be well-directed and constructive, avoiding unnecessary or misdirected criticism. By adopting effective feedback practices and creating a positive, collaborative work environment, companies can improve productivity and business success, while helping their employees grow and develop in their careers.


Feedback is a valuable tool to help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what they need to do to improve and achieve their goals.

Feedback should be well-directed and constructive, avoiding unnecessary or misdirected criticism. It is important to emphasize the contributor’s accomplishments and provide specific suggestions for improvement.

It is important to create a positive and collaborative work environment where employees feel valued and supported by the company and their colleagues. This can increase acceptance and receptivity to feedback.

Feedback should be clear, specific and objective. Emphasize the employee’s accomplishments and provide specific suggestions for improvement, as well as encourage dialogue and open communication.

It is important to remain calm and objective, emphasizing the importance of feedback and how it can help the employee to grow and develop in their career. If necessary, additional training can be offered or guidance from professionals specializing in people management can be sought.

We have here on our blog a complete guide for managers that will help you achieve a successful career!

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