Thought Leadership

How To Acquire The Skill Of Giving Constructive Feedback

A company’s success is often the result of its employee’s growth and productivity levels. Feedback is an essential tool that aids in employee productivity and agility; as the saying goes, “Praise in public, correct in private,” has a significant impact on employee performance.


A study published by Harvard Business Review found that more people prefer corrective feedback (57%) to praise or recognition (43%). While managers seem to dole out positive feedback that employees always appreciate, they believe that negative feedback does more to improve their performance and help them on their journey to success. Here are a few tips that can help you navigate through this challenging conversation.


  1. Use The Rosenberg Nonviolent Communication Method

Dr Rosenberg developed the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) approach during the 1960s. The approach has gained significant popularity and has been scientifically proven to be effective.


The method has a 4 step approach:

  1. Mention specific actions of the employee.
  2. Describe feelings and effects provoked by the person’s actions or the impact those actions have had on the project, team, company.
  3. Define needs by saying what you want or need to be changed.
  4. Make a request at the end of your feedback.


In 2012, Dr Connor and Dr Wentworth examined the impact of six months of NVC training and coaching on 23 executives at the Fortune 100 companies and concluded that “conversations and meetings were notably more efficient, with issues being resolved in 50–80 percent less time.”


2. Use Questions To Have An Open Discussion

A Management Professor at the University of Queensland shared his story with Psychology Today story of overcoming a difficult feedback session—firing an employee using questions: He began by asking his employee how she thought she was doing at her job. That lead-in gave the recipient’ joint ownership’ of the conversation,  Ashkanasy says. He also pointed to other jobs that would better match the skills of his soon-to-be-ex employee. That promise of belonging helped relieve her anxiety about being cast out of the group she already knew.


3. Regular Check-Ins

Try to have regular check-ins at least once a week; this can help correct an employee before the situation blows out of proportion. Researchers found that participants who were given prompt feedback showed a more significant increase in performance than those who had received delayed feedback.


Giving feedback regularly also helps employers avoid sugar coating and address the issue while getting straight to the point. This way, when you have to deliver emotionally charged feedback, you have already established a good rapport and trust with your colleague, indicating that you only want what’s best for them to help them succeed at work.


4. Correct Your Biases

Constructive feedback goes beyond just telling people how to do their job and how you think a particular task should be performed. While there may be a general right way of doing it, be open to the idea that the other ways to achieve the goal are just as valid as your way.


While giving feedback, keep an open mind to discuss why there is a shortfall and have an honest conversation with the employee and ask them to share their feedback of the company and their position. This will allow both parties to find a middle ground and arrive at the solution together while dealing with grievances.


5. Provide Training And Follow-Up

As a result of the feedback given, if the receiver feels they need additional training, try to provide them with the benefit of workshops, mentoring or coaching. It will also add to the employee’s skill set, making them an asset to the company.


It is essential to follow up on the progress of the employee after the feedback was delivered. Improvement on the given feedback should be validated and rewarded, which will boost the morale of the staff, making them more open to constructive feedback in the future.



Constructive feedback is an effective tool in every manager’s guidebook. Always remember to focus on improvements and not dwell on mistakes, or it could cause more harm than good to your business.