Management Tips for
Constructive Feedback
get the message across, but, build a more cohesive and capable team as a

One of the core principles for business management success is to learning how
to give and to receive constructive feedback.  In our experience with business
management consulting, we have found this key skill to be one of the most
important for executive staff to master.  Constructive feedback is the only way to
learn and develop—both personally and professionally.  

One of the most important aspects of business coaching for entrepreneurs is to
help a new manager learn how to be part of the creative team, but to also take a
leadership role in the team by using constructive feedback techniques in
business management. That means, you as Manager, have a responsibility to
your staff to help them develop  through your constructive feedback on their

What is constructive feedback?

First, I’ll tell you what it’s not.  

Constructive feedback is not criticism (which has a negative connotation
because it is so often generalized and personal).  

Constructive feedback is a not personal (e.g. you are lazy), but a targeted
response to an individual’s action or behavior (e.g. you did not accomplish the
task you agreed to complete) that is intended to help them learn, and is delivered
from a place of respect.  

Constructive feedback is not “closed” but rather invites the individual receiving
the feedback to shed light, share their perspective, or provide their response.  (e.
g. Do you see it differently?)  

Constructive feedback does not blame, but presents a collaborative approach to
problem-solving.  (e.g. If we are all to go home tonight on time, task A needs to
get done.  What support can the team offer to finish task A, so that everyone gets
to go home on time.)

Why constructive feedback works?

Constructive feedback enables you to give honest, “tough messages” to those
with whom you work.  

However, instead of insulting, shutting-down others, or alienating those who
receive the feedback, and thus lowering their morale and their resulting
productivity, it motivates them to ask for help, and acknowledge a skill or
competency deficiency, while feeling supported and respected.  

Two of the most important factors influencing employee retention/satisfaction
are:  1.Giving corrective feedback in time for the employee to correct mistakes
and 2. Delivering the message in a respectful and encouraging manner.  
Constructive feedback, because it is delivered out of respect and a genuine
desire for the individual to improve, accomplishes both.  

Principles of feedback:

    1.   Choose correct timing for feedback

    Praise is most effective when given as soon as possible after the behavior
    has occurred. Immediate feedback will help to reinforce a correct behavior
    and make it more likely to happen again.

    2.   Ask for self assessment

    Beginning by asking the person for self-assessment gives them an
    opportunity to be personally involved in the feedback process.  It helps to
    promote an open atmosphere and dialogue between the person doing the
    coaching and the person being coached. Often the person is well aware of
    his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Through self-assessment, the
    person can gradually assume more responsibility for his or her own
    abilities and performance.

    3.   Focus on specifics

    When you focus on a specific correct or incorrect behavior, you remove the
    feedback from the sphere of personality differences and the other person
    will be more willing and able to change.

    For example, when providing corrective feedback:

    Do: “When you were talking to customer xyz, I noticed that you forgot to use
    her name”

    Don’t: “You are not building rapport with the customer”

    4.   Limit feedback to a few important points

    Good coaches and communicators identify one or two critical areas and
    help the person address them one at a time. It is too hard to examine and
    try to change many aspects of behavior at one time. Restrict your feedback
    to one or two important points so that you do not overwhelm the other
    person with too many things to consider.

    5.   Provide more praise than corrective feedback

    Positive reinforcement is one of the strongest factors in bringing about
    change. When you give corrective feedback, remember to point out
    corrective behaviors first. This is as important as pointing out mistakes and
    areas that need improvement. And always end the conversation on a
    positive note.

    6.   Give praise for expected performance

    People deserve to be praised for doing their job to the expected level.
    However, too many people take the expected level for granted. Remember
    that praising anyone who meets established standards is as important as
    praising the exceptional performer. Praise is a strong motivator, and
    enough praise may be what it takes to turn an average employee into an
    exceptional one.

    7.   Develop Action Plans

    Work together to identify the desired performance or result and how it can
    be achieved.
    Decide when the steps will be accomplished and always create timeline to
    check in on milestones and steps to success.

Pamela Millar, CEO
     Bridgemakers Consulting
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