How To Give Feedback Professionally at Work (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 October 2022 | Published 17 August 2021

Updated 11 October 2022

Published 17 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Feedback is a leadership technique that's crucial for organisational growth, development and success. As a team leader or manager, comprehending the various forms of feedback, as well as how and when to utilise them, is important for success. This sort of communication is essential to master whether you manage a single person, a small team or a large group. In this article, we discuss what are the five distinct types of feedback, how to give feedback at work and why it's important to do so.

How to give feedback at work

Outlined below are three excellent techniques you can consider on how to give feedback at work:

1. Recognise when it's appropriate to provide positive feedback

Leadership is crucial while managing a team or a department. Employees who report to you rely on your direction to grow in numerous ways. When someone does anything nice, even if it's simple and trivial, it's vital to acknowledge them. This may help you define your expectations, foster a pleasant work environment and inspire more positive behaviours among those you manage. You may provide feedback to members of your team for the following reasons:

  • Completing an essential assignment ahead of the deadline

  • Contributing a useful suggestion during a meeting

  • Volunteering to take on additional duties

  • Helping a colleague

  • Completing a challenging project

  • Showing up on time and early on a regular basis

  • Establishing community and a healthy workplace culture

2. Be consistent and timely

Instead of simply providing feedback at an annual review, offer it more frequently to assist your workers to improve more consistently while they work. Praise for a job well done, as well as constructive criticism for an unwanted behaviour, has to be provided on a regular and timely basis. This fosters a culture of communication and clarity. Those on your team may feel more encouraged and engaged if you acknowledge their contributions and provide advice when necessary. Regularly sharing positive and constructive views may assist to minimise the number of situations where penalties are required.

3. Provide tangible solutions for problems

When difficulties arise, it's critical to clearly describe what the situation is and why it's unfavourable. By doing so, they won't be puzzled about what you want them to modify. However, make sure to go beyond calling out bad habits or poor performance outcomes. Back up your initial remarks with some recommendations on how to fix the problem. You may also ask the person what they may do differently if the circumstance should arise again. Their response may tell you how well they comprehend your criticism and may most likely instil confidence in them.

5 types of feedback

The following are five types of feedback you may give someone to help them develop and advance in their role:

1. Positive feedback

Positive feedback is a great method to show appreciation, boost confidence and promote extraordinary results. You may provide good comments to a single employee, a small group of hardworking coworkers or an entire team. There are several methods for providing this sort of feedback. For instance, you might send an email blast to a group of employees, add a remark to someone's personnel file or just tell someone in person that they performed well.

Related: 8 Positive Feedback Examples for Employee Performance

2. Constructive feedback

Constructive feedback improves employee accomplishment, productivity and overall organisational success by redirecting and enhancing employee behaviour. If someone committed an accidental error or performed something inefficiently, it's important to notify them as soon as possible. You can communicate what's expected of them and show what you want to occur in the future. When an employee takes on a new task, they may most likely require greater direction and closer guidance. Remember to always provide actionable and practical solutions to effectively lead an employee on the correct path.

3. Negative feedback

Negative feedback is typically reserved for circumstances whereby an employee has done something that's directly contrary to corporate policy. Negative feedback may also be followed by an action plan, penalties or even dismissal, depending on the severity and impact of their conduct. Negative feedback, like positive or constructive criticism, has to be clear and explicit. Simultaneously, it also has to convey the extent and gravity of the violation. This type of feedback is used rarely.

4. Formal feedback

When managing a team, it's critical to provide a combination of formal and informal feedback. Formal feedback emphasises the importance of the accomplishment or seriousness of the challenge you're emphasising. There are various circumstances where you can formally provide feedback, depending on the context. One method is to do so at a performance review. The period of performance reviews varies based on the organisation you're in, but they're generally held quarterly or annually. Alternatively, you can provide formal feedback by planning department meetings and one-on-one meetings, as well as drafting a formal memorandum.

5. Informal feedback

Informal feedback is also known as unplanned communication. A typical approach to deliver informal feedback is to drop by someone's workplace and offer a brief redirection or a compliment. Similarly, reflecting and remarking on someone's current performance or technique is informal feedback. Employees benefit from consistent and regular informal feedback because it provides them with direction and clarity about what's anticipated of them.

4 things to do when giving feedback

It's critical to communicate what works effectively within your team to develop a strong and effective department. Knowing how to do so successfully is likely to enhance morale, retention levels and efficiency. Outlined below are four ways to provide meaningful feedback that results in positive outcomes:

  1. Communicate straight away if something isn't working out. Waiting until a high number of violations and dissatisfaction has accumulated may give the employee the impression that the issue is too big to solve.

  2. Provide feedback in a way that allows the other person to respond. Grant the employee the opportunity to describe what happened and why so that you may learn what caused a certain occurrence. Having that information can help them replicate positive results or avoid potential problems in the future.

  3. Try to be mindful of the employee's situation. Being considerate about someone's life beyond work demonstrates empathy and compassion. Employees who feel valued and acknowledged are more inclined to invest greater efforts to enhance performance outcomes.

  4. Extend any negative feedback privately. Offering privacy demonstrates respect for the individual you're redirecting.

Related: Improving Communication Skills

Examples of effective feedback

Here are some examples of effective feedback:

Positive feedback

Here's an example of a circumstance whereby you may provide positive feedback and what you can say to encourage further success:

David has closed a big sales transaction. When an employee, such as David, performs a task that benefits the whole team, it's essential to recognise and reward them for it. Consider asking David to share his strategy or mentor someone in a junior position to replicate the success to the rest of the team and leave a stronger impact.

Sample feedback: David, you're amazing! Congratulations on successfully completing the transaction. This account will have a significant influence on our sales figures this quarter. What do you think about demonstrating some of your customer interactions methods to Rachel, our newest sales associate? I could definitely need more people with your abilities on the team!

Constructive feedback

Constructive feedback has to clearly explain the problematic conduct and provide tangible actions for redirection. Below is an example of constructive feedback:

John has been absent from five meetings these past two weeks. John could tell you that he didn't realise he was expected to attend the meetings he missed. You can discuss why John's presence is critical and provide a possible solution he could implement. Be mindful that John's personal success reflects your success as a leader.

Sample feedback: Hi John, I saw that you were absent from the previous five meetings you were due to attend. Attending those meetings is critical to your work and is mandatory. Could you please tell me what happened? Please let me know if you find it difficult to handle your duties. If it's merely a matter of keeping your responsibilities structured, I have some recommendations.

A few weeks ago, the program manager sent out an invitation to this recurring meeting. You can avoid this issue by doing a self-check. You may prevent this problem by constantly checking your calendar and email across the day. I personally set five alarms each day to remind myself to check my calendar for last-minute changes and meetings. Do you believe you have all you need to tackle this problem?

Why is feedback important?

Feedback is essential because it teaches employees how to excel in a certain activity or role. As a team leader or a manager, the feedback you provide may assist everyone in meeting their objectives. It also promotes clarity and fosters a culture of engagement. Employees may be more happy and content in their position if they possess a clear grasp of the requirements and feel comfortable asking questions. Enhancing employee satisfaction can have a beneficial influence on staff retention rates, performance output and overall organisational success.

Related: How To Deal With a Difficult Boss

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