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How Leaders Can Give More Effective Feedback

Feedback is one of the most valuable things a business leader can give.

Constructive feedback in the workplace helps us to understand what we’re doing right and where we need to improve. When feedback is positive, it acts as a source of inspiration and motivation.

We get the reassurance of knowing that we’re taking the right steps towards success.

When feedback is negative, it can be worrisome initially, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for growth. Negative feedback, when given effectively, shows us the things that we need to work on in a supportive, and insightful way. It means we can become better at what we do in the long-term.

Learn more about why you might want to give more feedback in your company and how to do it constructively.

The Benefits of Constructive Feedback

The benefits of constructive feedback start with engagement. When people get constant feedback and guidance from their team leaders, they feel more engaged by their role and more like part of the team. There are countless statistics proving that feedback drives positive results.

Around 96% of employees say they want to hear feedback regularly.

Feedback also:

  • Reduces staff turnover. Telling your employees that they’re doing a good job regularly is a great way to keep them around. However, it also helps to give them information about what they’re doing wrong. Team members like to see that they’re making progress in their roles, and feedback helps with this.

  • Provides better business outcomes. You can only drive better results for your company if your employees know what to do to deliver success. Telling your employees why the work they’ve done is good or inadequate means that they’re more likely to deliver effective results in the future.

  • Increases productivity. The more feedback your team receives, the more confident they’ll be about taking responsibility and initiative. Providing regular feedback keeps your team members from constantly questioning what they do, because they already know what kind of behavior you like or dislike.

How to Give Effective Feedback

Step 1: Be Positive

Notably, giving feedback is important, but not just any feedback will do. Only around 29% of employees say that the feedback they get helps them to perform better in their job.

If you want the things you say to have a positive influence on your team, it’s important to have a strategy.

First, start by addressing positive behavior. This makes it much easier to give great feedback, because you just tell your employees what you liked about their work and thank them for their effort.

If the feedback you’re going to give is totally positive, highlight what made it so useful and recognize the outcomes that came from the work.

For instance, “Great job on that sales pitch, the way you connected our product features to their recent marketing challenges really got them to take notice.”

If you’re going to give negative feedback, focusing on the positive first will make your team member more open to hearing the rest of what you’re going to say.

  • Ineffective: Your latest work isn’t written in line with the brand voice.

  • Effective: We really like that you’ve taken the time to produce a well-researched piece of work. However, I’ve outlined a few areas where your tone might not match the company voice. Could you take another look at these sections?

Step 2: Be Specific and Objective

Aside from approaching feedback from a positive perspective, the other most valuable thing you can do to make your feedback more effective is to be specific.

Avoid making generalized observations about something, such as, “You were great in that meeting”. Although these statements might make others feel good, they don’t give any direction for the future. Instead, try, “That meeting was fantastic, I really liked how much data you used to drive home your point.”

At the same, focus on factual information with your feedback, particularly if you’re giving negative information.

For instance, instead of saying, “I don’t like how you handled that call,” take your feelings out of it. Say “Great job on jumping into that call with a quick response time. It would have been better for you to introduce yourself on that call before you asked the customer how you can help.”

Remember, objective and specific pieces of feedback will help your employees to understand what they’ve done well and where they could improve.

Step 3: Give Actionable Advice

Finally, avoid only telling someone that you liked or disliked something they did. Give them actionable advice on what to do next. Actionable advice is what makes feedback constructive.

Instead of, “I think you could have done better in that call,” explain what they can do to get better results the next time.

For instance, “That call was very clear and well-spoken, but I think you lost track of our message a few times. Perhaps you could glance down at our sales scripts from time to time just to keep yourself on track?”

Moving Forward

Effective feedback is beneficial for you, your team members, and your company. Keep these tips in mind to keep your team on track with feedback that they can appreciate.


Thank you for reading our blog!

- Mike Acker

Check out my new book on Public Speaking: Speak with Confidence, published by WILEY.

A breakthrough to develop confidence in speaking, leadership, and life. A follow-up book to my best-selling book, Speak with No Fear

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