Giving constructive feedback can feel difficult when you’re unsure how to properly deliver your thoughts, don’t know how the person will receive the feedback or simply haven’t provided constructive feedback before. However, constructive feedback is an important skill that can help guide individuals away from undesirable behavior and toward actions and practices aligned with your or your company’s standards. 

Like being a good leader, knowing how to give constructive feedback is a skill learned over time. If you’re not used to providing feedback as a superior or team member and you feel uncomfortable with the idea overall, rest assured those feelings are completely natural. You can learn to feel more confident in giving constructive feedback by understanding its key elements and discovering tips for delivering your feedback strongly and with ease. 

Constructive Feedback: Its Main Purpose

Just like administrative tasks such as creating your first website, learning how to give constructive feedback is a key skill any aspiring leader can develop. While giving constructive feedback may feel uncomfortable, it’s important to focus on its primary purpose: facilitating growth and improvement. 

You can help foster positive improvements and continuous learning in the person you’re trying to help with the proper constructive feedback. No matter what, constructive feedback should not be destructive or insulting, vague or without clear solutions. You should focus on making constructive feedback that is honest, actionable, delivered in a respectful and helpful manner and encouraging. 

Above all, constructive feedback should be an evaluation, comment, or observation that aims to improve something about the recipient, whether their performance at work, a creative project or a certain process. 

The Importance of Giving Constructive Feedback

If you are in a leadership position or working in a group where you have to give constructive feedback to your team members, knowing how to properly make constructive feedback can help you build trust and better collaborate with others, identify important areas of improvement to a project or behavior and guide others towards a common goal. 

Tips for Giving Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

Text sits on a white background with a blue border. The title reads: “Make it a two-way feedback conversation.” A numbered list with three points sits below the title and reads: “Share information, ask for feedback and take action.” 
Still from Skillshare class Leadership: Retaining High Performers & Growing Talent on Your Team by Abigail IrelandGiving feedback also means being prepared to hear what the other person has to say. 

Like with learning any new skill, you might benefit from taking a few notes to better remember these constructive feedback tips. Whether you like to use Notion to organize your thoughts, have a notebook that you constantly fill up with new learnings, or love to use your notes app to collect your thoughts, noting down some tips that interest you will help you better remember and use them. 

Here are a few tips to consider when giving constructive feedback: 

  • Focus on the person’s work rather than their personality traits
  • Be specific
  • Make your feedback actionable and solution-oriented
  • Get straight to the point and keep things concise
  • Provide the feedback in a timely manner
  • Choose the right environment to give the feedback
  • Be receptive to feedback from the other person
  • Have a healthy balance of “I” statements and “You” statements
  • Use open-ended questions to help the other person reflect on their actions
  • Be prepared for a wide range of reactions
  • Consider your body language and tone of voice
  • Set clear expectations
  • Follow up when necessary 

Examples of Constructive Feedback You Can Use

Text sits on a white background with a blue border. The title reads: “Plan Ahead.” A numbered list with four points sits below the title and reads: “What is a good outcome? What reactions should come up? What evidence can you share? And Be supportive and collaborative.” 
Still from Skillshare class Leadership: Retaining High Performers & Growing Talent on Your Team by Abigail IrelandOne of the best ways to ensure positive constructive feedback is to plan ahead.  

The type of constructive feedback you will give will depend on where you’re giving it, who you’re giving it to and why you’re giving it. If you’re working on a group project with other high school students, you’ll want to offer suggestions rather than directives and keep things collaborative rather than critical. If you’re a manager and need to give your team feedback as their boss, you’ll want to stay professional, focus on desired outcomes and offer constructive critiques. 

Here are five constructive questions you can ask:

  • “I see where you’re coming from but have you considered this angle?”
  • “Could we brainstorm ways to improve your performance?”
  • “How can you further improve on this skill or project?”
  • “What were you hoping to achieve with this work/presentation/approach?”
  • “How can I best support you in the future?”

Here are five constructive phrases you can use and adjust to your situation: 

  • I appreciate your work on this project, but the deadline is approaching. Let’s discuss your progress and plan and see how we can optimize both.
  • This version of your project/presentation is a good starting point but to continue moving in the right direction consider focusing on your word choice, visuals and supporting evidence. 
  • I see you’ve been doing a great job on this project/work, but I think you could give more energy to it. 
  • While you’re heading in the right direction with this idea, I think this other idea could use further research and refinement. 

Develop Your Leadership Skills

You have something to be proud of just because you’re here ready to learn more about constructive feedback. Within a few weeks of continued research and refinement, you’ll be on your way to having constructive feedback skills you’re proud of. 

If you want to push your skills to the next level, continue to look over the notes you took, ask for feedback from your team members or colleagues and look for ways to improve your communication. If you want to get expert guidance, Skillshare is here to help you improve your leadership skills, including giving constructive feedback.

Written By

Calli Zarpas

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