We probably all know that we should give people constructive feedback. And anyone who has experienced bad feedback will know that it is unhelpful and hurtful. But how can we ensure that the feedback we give is constructive and inoffensive?

It’s fair to say that while giving feedback is an art you perfect over time, you can prematurely improve your approach with the right knowledge at your disposal. To help you take your leadership skills up a notch, we’ve created this post that explains our approach on giving constructive feedback the right way.

• Generally, feedback can be given either “in the moment” or daily. There are three different types of feedback based on purpose: evaluation, appreciation and coaching. Evaluation feedback needs to be done “in the moment” to help the person receiving the feedback know where they stand. Appreciation and coaching should be given daily to help inspire and motivate the person to continue doing their best and improving their selves.

• Make sure you understand the message. Make sure you understand what is being said to you, especially before responding to the feedback. Ask questions for clarification if necessary. Listen actively by repeating key points so that you know you have interpreted the feedback correctly. In a group environment, ask for others’ feedback before responding. As well, when possible, be explicit as to what kind of feedback you are seeking beforehand, so you are not taken by surprise.

• Feedback is the key to seeing your blind spots. It seems obvious but it is worth reiterating – one of the benefits of 360 feedback is the ability to compare perceptions of our workplace behaviour from different quarters. This can reflect how we may behave differently when we are managing up, down or with our peers. One of the more powerful comparisons, however, is how we see ourselves compared to the view of others.

• Relationships play a big role in the way we interpret feedback. The relationship we have with the person giving us feedback influences the way we interpret their opinions.

• Our brain wiring and emotions affect the way we perceive feedback. When it comes to sensitivity to feedback, individuals can vary up to three thousand percent in terms of how far they swing, emotionally, and how long it takes them to recover. And that has profound implications for their ability to hear the feedback they get, and to learn anything from it.

• Meaningful feedback is the lifeblood for learning and growing. Providing feedback that focuses on the process of developing skills conveys the importance of effort and motivates employees to persist when learning. When employees believe that their skills can be developed through dedication and hard work instead of innate abilities, they can develop a growth mindset.

Final thoughts…
In life as much as in work, it’s important to know how to provide feedback to others, effectively and constructively without causing offence.

Learning to give and receive feedback is difficult because it can often feel uncomfortable. But, one of the best outcomes from these conversations is that it leads to a stronger sense of the overall goals and mission. The more someone understands your vision and the role they play, the more they will enjoy both their job, and improving their work.