Tips For Giving Effective Constructive Feedback

John’s Perspective

Even if unpleasant to do, giving constructive feedback is necessary. Being a leader and effective manager means you will have many opportunities to give out both praise and constructive feedback. While both require skill, practice, and thought to deliver well, the latter is often more intimidating.

Negative feedback elicits a stronger response.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m advocating for messaging to be overly critical or negative: I just want you to be aware of this point. Past research has shown that employees can react to a negative interaction with their boss six times more strongly than a positive interaction. While all those interactions may not have been feedback-giving instances, this suggests that negative feedback affects both an employee’s mood, productivity, and engagement.

Thus, even when you plan on delicately and cautiously delivering constructive feedback, you should be very deliberate in ensuring it is not overly critical. If it is, you run the risk of your message being lost while also lowering your employee’s engagement and wellbeing. You have to consider how important it is that you deliver the corrective message: do you need to give the feedback to avoid business disruption or was your employee’s misstep simply a small, likely one-time occurrence? If it is a small infraction and unlikely to occur again, it might be better for the employee’s mood and productivity if you don’t provide the feedback.

Always ensure you are delivering your feedback in private.

When your employee truly does need constructive feedback, because their actions are disrupting or potentially harming the business, then you must ensure you are always delivering the message in private. Try to keep your tone collaborative and deliver the theme that the feedback is being provided to help your employee’s performance in the future.After all, while the message of your feedback is vital to the employee, so is ensuring that you haven’t made the employee feel defeated in the process. By helping them understand that you value them, their progress, and their future with the organization, you’ll be best setting them up to best understand and want to apply your advice.

Join us The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center at one of our upcoming Enrichment Courses to learn more about the best practices of giving feedback and rewarding and recognizing your employees. 
The “John’s Perspective” posts on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Marriott International.