Being able to give good feedback is one of those skills that is so often underrated, yet it can change a working relationship so fast it’ll make your head spin.

Here are three tips for giving great feedback –

Spin, spin, spin

No matter what feedback you are trying to give, there is an art to making it feel constructive. Nobody likes to feel like they’ve messed up, and very negative feedback may impact on work and relationships. Try to find at least one positive piece of feedback to deliver at the same time to offset some of the sting, or turn the whole discussion into a positive progress focused one.

Try using the format of praise-constructive-praise. For example, “I noticed and appreciate that you’ve been working exceptionally hard on project X. I feel like we could do even better if we …. Thanks again for replying so promptly to customer Y, they are in a great mood now.”

Be genuine

This may seem like a contradiction after point 1, but people can tell if you aren’t being real with them. Speak from the heart and don’t rehearse too much. A quick “wow, you got that piece of work done faster than I expected, nice one” shows that you notice what they do, and you appreciate it on a personal level.

Timely and specific

The best feedback is the pieces that have context and let the recipient know exactly what behaviours you are looking for.

“I’m not quite happy with your work” is unhelpful to everyone. It makes your employees feel down and doesn’t tell them what to improve.

“Your tone on the phone this afternoon was on point” is specific, and because it happened the same day they will know exactly what you are referencing so they can do it again next time. This kind of feedback is especially powerful if in the past you noticed that their tone was not as great as it could have been.

It’s so easy to think “nice job” and not say anything until that end of year review, but keeping the constructive feedback going whenever you can mean that employees feel comfortable in their roles and know what they can work on to improve.


Our challenge to you

Over the next week, say something nice about each one of your colleagues to them. Positivity is contagious and if you start doing it, others may just follow. If nothing else, you’ll make their day.

Knowing that your boss, client and peers appreciate the value you added to the team is invaluable and will make your office a happier place to be.