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6 Tips to Write Constructive Feedback That Actually Work

By relying on surveys and reviews, providing feedback has become a task we are obligated to complete.

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Redefining Feedback

Most of us are used to having 12-months worth of praise, constructive criticism, and advice dumped on us all at once through an annual review. It requires leadership to condense opportunities and wins into large notable events while ignoring the small achievements each individual has in that time. The resulting action plan can also be overwhelming, especially when being told where you can improve.

With tools such as our browser extension, continuous feedback becomes is simple, immediate, and documented.

Continuous feedback is beneficial for a few reasons:

  1. It's easier to digest and consider feedback when you receive it in real-time and the commentary is still relevant.
  2. It encourages informal feedback which can reduce "surprises" that come up during formal feedback sessions. (Such as the annual review.)
  3. Feedback becomes more specific.
  4. It allows the receiver to consider the feedback immediately.

The idea of feedback is not something we think of often though, is it? By relying on surveys and reviews, providing feedback has become a task we are obligated to complete.

Perhaps you can relate; does the thought of giving feedback make you feel nervous or confused? Do you associate the word feedback itself as "negative"? You're not alone!

Tips for giving and receiving feedback:

1. Share feedback at all levels

Are employees equipped to share feedback up to managers, and how is this feedback reaching high-level executives? Sharing should occur “up” and “down”, and all levels of employees should have avenues to give and receive feedback.

2. Focus on strengths vs. weaknesses

It’s okay to point out areas where the company, or an employee, needs to improve. However, employees will likely disengaged when feedback focuses too heavily on weaknesses - especially when it's presented without an avenue to make that change. Sharing positive feedback with your team regularly can increase their confidence to complete their daily tasks as well as their confidence to improve where necessary.

3. Be mindful of wording and content

Delivery makes a difference when providing feedback, whether positive or negative. For example, when asking an employee to take on a challenging project, be sure to explain why you're trusting them with this task and what their strong skills can do to positively effect the outcome of the task.

4. Clarify expectations

Confusion harms a healthy feedback culture. Setting the expectations for feedback can be as simple as "always provide an actionable way to remedy your feedback" or "don't forget to tag your team member when submitting kudos". It can be that easy. Be sure to set an example from the top! Take the lead in encouraging a positive feedback culture, and your team will follow.

5. Provide it with the best intentions

Being empathetic when providing feedback will allow you to communicate better with an individual. The better you know your peer, the more effective your feedback will be.

6. Remain open to receiving feedback

Perhaps easier said than done, receiving feedback can sometimes be difficult to process. If you show your team that you are open to feedback of all types, you will receive it more often. Others may also come to find you easier to work with, more approachable, and a true team player.

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