7 Examples of Constructive Feedback For Managers
Whether we’re looking at improving performance in a sportive or professional context, receiving constructive feedback is precious. Feedback allows people to modify their behaviour to help them attain their goals. For a manager, giving feedback is a way to help employees reach the goals that they have been assigned. It consists in identifying the gap that exist between expectations and objectives.
Giving great feedback is an art form in itself. While not giving any feedback at all is certainly a top managerial mistake, not giving a constructive feedback is just as unproductive. If we stress so much the importance of giving constructive feedback, it’s in fact for a very good reason. A manager’s feedback can encourage or discourage, strengthen motivation or damage it. So what is it that refrains our ability to provide feedback in the first place? What does positive and negative feedback look like? And finally how should we proceed to provide valuable feedback? This is what we’re going to explore in this article.
Why Do We Fail to Provide Enough Feedback?
Providing feedback is an effort in itself, it simply doesn’t come to us naturally. Although we do appreciate the work of our employees, we sometimes fail to verbalise it. We may think: “What a great job did John do to complete that project!”, yet forget to say it out loud. The fact of thinking positively about the work of our team act as a trick that makes us feel like we did express our appreciation.
Some managers are also scared to provide feedback, both positive and negative.
Some examples include:
- “If I tell him that he did a good job, he’s going to rest of his laurels” – comes from a combination of fear and belief.
- “She know she had a great year anyway” – based on a belief.
- “I have already given him a feedback on his work” – but was the message really clear?
And when feedback is negative, a manager can be scared of the reaction of his employees, not finding the right words to communicate his impressions,
4 Types of Feedback and Their Impact on Self-Esteem
We can highlight four main types of feedback that a manager can give to an employee. You need to be aware that each doesn’t have the same effect on the person who receives it. Two types are particularly recommended because they are considered constructive for good reasons: POSITIVE + SPECIFIC and NEGATIVE + SPECIFIC.
Motivating (POSITIVE + SPECIFIC) – Maintains or improves self-esteem
Example: “Mark, I appreciate the fact that you accept to put in extra hours to help us. We need to complete this project by tomorrow and without your collaboration, we’d never be able to make it in time. Thank you!”
Corrective (NEGATIVE + SPECIFIC) – Maintains self-esteem
Example: “I can see on your timesheet that you were in late three times this week: on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Each time your delay varies between 15 and 24 minutes”.
Flattering (POSITIVE – VAGUE) – Creates suspicion and mistrust. Impacts self-esteem negatively.
Example: “Hey Beth, you’re the best! I know that I can rely on you”.
Provocative (NEGATIVE – VAGUE) – Reduces self-esteem
Example: “I knew from day one that you had weak areas”.
Feedback Best-Practices for Managers: Examples of DOs and DON’Ts
What’s best than an example to demonstrate the effect of a positive or negative feedback? Imagine that I’m your supervisor and I say to you:
Feedback #1: “I don’t think you’re capable of undertaking this duty”.
Feedback #2: “I’ve read your project and I expected something more consistent given your level of experience in this domain”.
Feedback #3: “I find that there’s a flagrant lack of professionalism within your team”.
How would you feel if your manager was to give you these feedbacks? Now, let’s have a look at a revised version. I’m still your manager, but this time I say:
Feedback #1: “You will need to master control procedures before we assign you this duty”.
Feedback #2: “In order to move forward with your project, you will need to bring more details on phase 2 and 3, and add supportive information”.
Feedback #3: “You will need to work with your team to ensure you are able to meet deadlines”.
The more we believe in our capacity to accomplish something, the more we trust ourselves to do it well, which in turn increases performance. By giving a positive and constructive feedback, an employee knows exactly what they need to improve . A great feedback is motivating by nature. For example:
“I have appreciated your professionalism during this meeting. Thanks to your preparation, you were able to dive right into the problem, offer two potential solutions, and back up your proposal with facts and statistics.”
Here’s another example:
“Your presentation was really engaging. It was well structured, had the right tone, and you were even able to make some jokes with the audience”. Now if you need your employee to improve on an element, you could add: “And with a bit more practice, you’ll be able to wrap it up within the ten minutes that are allocated, instead of 14 minutes.”
The 6 Guiding Principles for Giving Positive Feedback
- It is precise
- It makes a clear distinctions between results, actions and people
- It is descriptive and not accusative
- It is prescriptive and provides actionable information
- It is formulated positively
- It demonstrates the trust we have in our team or employee and its capacities, even if there’s nothing to improve on.
When should you give feedback?
Especially when an employee has set a goal to improve himself, has achieved something outstanding or out of the ordinary, or is in learning phase. Giving feedback is essential during the entire coaching and mentoring process. After each pre-defined action, whether it’s been accomplished or not, successful or not.
How often to give feedback?
What’s important is that employees feel supported and engaged while having enough leverage to manage their own development.