how should constructive feedback be given

How Should Constructive Feedback Be Given? Do’s And Dont’s For Managers

Feedback is one of the most essential management skills, yet it’s often under-utilized. Feedback can help individuals improve performance and support a team or organization to improve. As feedback is critical for growth, it’s essential to be clear and constructive with the feedback you give. Here are some tips to keep in mind for being more effective with your feedback.

What is good constructive feedback?


Good constructive feedback is supportive of the receiver. It helps the person identify their potential. Good constructive feedback correctly picks the strengths and weaknesses of a person. From this, they can understand which areas allow them to shine in their careers and where they can work. As the name suggests, constructive feedback is intended for a beneficial purpose. Thus, the best feedback helps the candidate grow and benefits them in the most ways possible. It should not be mistaken as criticism which can demotivate the person.


Holistic feedback is good constructive feedback. It considers the whole person – their background, skills, and abilities. The feedback should not be based on a single action or event but rather encompass the totality of who the recipient is as an individual. Feedback given in this way helps people to understand themselves better and create realistic goals for improvement. This type of feedback also lets individuals take ownership of their progress and makes them feel accountable for their actions.


Good constructive feedback is clear. The receiver knows what to do to improve and why it’s necessary. Feedback should not be vague or ambiguous; the receiver should understand precisely what is being asked of them. It helps people stay organized, focus on their goals, and meet critical deadlines. It offers suggestions or advice to help recipients achieve their goals more effectively. It also assists with problem-solving so that the person can find solutions independently if needed rather than getting confused.


Specific feedback helps much more than vague comments. The receiver knows what was done well and what could be improved next time. Feedback should not be general or all-encompassing, as this makes it difficult to understand and remember the advice. It’s important that feedback is specific so the recipient can replicate the behavior if it’s successful or avoid doing something when it wasn’t successful in improving next time around.


Good constructive feedback is balanced. The receiver feels positive about themselves after the feedback, without feeling told what to do negatively. Feedback should be productive and helpful, but it shouldn’t continuously berate or criticize the recipient. It can hurt their feelings, which defeats the purpose of giving feedback in the first place.


Good constructive feedback leaves the receiver looking forward to new things with positivity. The receiver understands that what they’re doing right and what could be improved are both acknowledged and appreciated. Feedback should not ONLY focus on the negative aspects of a recipient’s work, as this can make them feel downtrodden or discouraged. Instead, feedback should also point out their successes so that they can build upon them in the future.

Learn how to become a pro at constructive feedback in simple steps here.

Tips for improving constructive feedback

Dos of constructive feedback

  1. Be specific: Provide specific examples of what the person did well or could improve upon.
  2. Be timely: Provide feedback as close as possible to the event or behavior in question.
  3. Be respectful: Use a professional and respectful tone, and avoid personal attacks and criticisms.
  4. Be balanced: Provide positive and negative feedback, and ensure that the feedback is balanced and fair.
  5. Be actionable: Provide actionable feedback, meaning that the person can take steps to improve the behavior or performance.

Donts of constructive feedback

  1. Don’t be vague: Avoid general or vague statements, and be specific in your feedback with the help of suggestions and examples.
  2. Don’t wait too long: Avoid providing feedback long after an event or behavior has occurred. It may not be as effective or relevant.
  3. Don’t be disrespectful: Avoid using an unprofessional or rude tone, and avoid making personal attacks or criticisms.
  4. Don’t be one-sided: Avoid only providing negative feedback or focusing only on one aspect of the person’s behavior or performance.
  5. Don’t be unrealistic: Avoid providing feedback that is unrealistic or impossible to achieve. Set achievable and realistic goals.

Suggestions for better constructive feedback

  • Do provide constructive feedback. This is the feedback that is positive, constructive, and useful. It helps the person receiving feedback to improve their performance, and any positive feedback should be specific and actionable. It should address the person’s development and strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.
  • Do not give feedback that is accusatory, demeaning, or offensive. It is crucial to avoid giving negative feedback solely, as it can often create a hostile environment that can inhibit growth and development. Also, it should be specific, constructive, and helpful.
  • Do take the time to listen to the person receiving feedback before giving your opinion. In providing feedback, it’s important to have empathy for the person receiving feedback as well as a willingness to listen to their concerns. By doing this you can ensure that the person receiving feedback feels heard and understood.
  • Try to be objective when delivering feedback. By being accurate in your delivery of constructive feedback you are more likely to provide honest, fair criticism without any bias or agenda.
  • Avoid using language that could discriminate or stereotype the person receiving feedback. When providing constructive feedback, it’s essential not to use words that could potentially stigmatize or stereotype the person receiving feedback, such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ as these terms are subjective and do not offer any constructive guidance or criticism.
  • Do seek constructive feedback whenever possible. Just like team members, it does wonders for managers too!

Sample statements that you can use

Giving feedback is an important part of being a coach or team member. It can help individuals improve their performance and be more successful in their work. But feedback must be constructive and constructive feedback is vital. Giving feedback effectively can be challenging, so it’s important to follow some tips and best practices. For one, you can use the sample statements given below to formulate your constructive feedback:

  • “I noticed that you took the initiative to lead the team during the project, and it was clear that the team benefited from your clear direction and support. Keep up the good work.”
  • “I appreciate the effort you put into researching and presenting new ideas for the project, and it was clear that you were actively working to find new solutions to the challenges we faced.”
  • “I noticed that you have been consistently meeting deadlines and managing your time effectively. Your ability to balance multiple tasks is impressive. Keep up the good work.”
  • “I appreciate the extra time and effort you put into the project, and it was clear that you were committed to making sure it was a success. However, I noticed that you could have been more effective if you had communicated your progress with the team more often, it will make the work more efficient.”

How should constructive feedback be given? – Example

Let us take the example of Jane, who is getting feedback from her manager to understand this more:

Manager: “Jane, can I speak with you for a moment? I wanted to give you some feedback on your performance during the last project.”

Jane: “Sure, I’m open to any feedback you have.”

Manager: “I noticed that you took the initiative to lead the team during the project, and it was clear that the team benefited from your clear direction and support. You were able to keep everyone on track and focused, which was great.”

Jane: “Thank you, I appreciate that feedback.”

Manager: “However, I also noticed that there were a few areas where you could improve. For example, I noticed that you didn’t communicate your progress with the team as often as you could have. This made it difficult for the team to understand where we were in the project and what still needed to be done.”

Jane: “I understand, that’s a good point. I’ll definitely work on communicating more effectively with the team in the future.”

Manager: “Great, I think if you work on that, it will help the team to work more efficiently. But overall, I think you did a great job on the project, and I appreciate all of your hard work.”

Jane: “Thank you, I appreciate your feedback, and I’ll work on improving in those areas.”

Manager: “Of course, let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else I can do to support you.”

Innovative techniques for giving helpful feedback

Several suggestions can help managers give better constructive feedback. Some ideas include providing specific examples, using positive language, and promptly offering prompt feedback. In addition to these steps, managers can use innovative techniques like a feedback sandwich to make feedback sharing easier.

A feedback sandwich is a strategy used in management that involves providing feedback to an employee in successive stages rather than all at once. This approach helps to build positive relationships by providing information and resolving issues as they are encountered. The goal is to provide the employee with continuous feedback that leads to satisfaction and improved engagement due to their constant growth.


When we give feedback to others, it is essential that we do it constructively. Furthermore, it must be provided so that the person understands the meaning of the feedback and can act upon it. Remember, feedback is an important tool in management that can help you improve your team’s performance. If you are struggling with constructive feedback, here’s an opportunity to test your skills for free with Risely.

Evaluate your Constructive Feedback skills for free now!

The free Constructive Feedback self-assessment for managers improves efficacy of feedback with smart interventions

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