7 tips on how to give and receive feedback

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We have probably all experienced the uneasiness that can come with receiving feedback, whether it’s a performance review, the completion of a project, or an informal check-in. It is not always easy, even when we are receiving constructive feedback.

In these moments, it’s important to remember that feedback is essential to professional growth. While it may be uncomfortable, “feedback is a critical ingredient in learning and growth”, says Angela Duckworth, American psychologist, and author.

Feedback plays a key role in our professional development and growth, but do we know how to provide it, and even more, do we know how to receive it without prejudice and with an open mind?

Let’s take a look at some simple tips on how we could express ourselves and strategies that can help whether we provide or receive feedback.

Understanding the importance of feedback

A report by Harvard Business Review found that employees who receive regular feedback are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged at work. And what does it mean to have more engagement? Studies show that companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable and have a 40% lower turnover rate than companies with disengaged employees.

The equation, therefore, is simple. Receiving regular feedback means more engaged employees and lower turnover rates which could translate into higher productivity. These data show that the impact is very high, so it is recommended that organizations regularly listen to their employees and implement an effective listening strategy throughout the year. 

Feedback is critical in the workplace, as it helps employees to know how they are performing, what they are doing well, and where they need to improve. It helps to assess the team members’ progress and identify any areas that require attention.

Giving and receiving feedback is essential to personal and professional development, as it helps to improve skills, knowledge, and performance.

According to a survey by Gallup, only 19% of employees strongly agree that they receive meaningful feedback at work. So, not all feedback is created equal. Sometimes, feedback can be poorly delivered, vague, or even downright rude. In these situations, it’s essential to stay calm and professional. Try to ask clarifying questions to understand the feedback better and see if there’s any actionable advice you can take away.

Feedback is critical in the workplace

Types of feedback

Feedback is a valuable tool for personal and professional growth, and several types of feedback can help employees improve their performance and achieve their goals.

From positive feedback that reinforces good behaviors to constructive feedback that addresses areas for improvement, each type of feedback serves a specific purpose and can be used in different situations.

  1. Positive feedback: This feedback reinforces positive behaviors or outcomes. It highlights what was done well and encourages the individual to continue doing it.
  2. Constructive feedback: This type of feedback is used to address areas for improvement. It is focused on specific behaviors or actions and offers suggestions for how to do better next time.
  3. 360-degree feedback: This feedback is collected from various sources, including peers, subordinates, supervisors, and self-evaluation. It provides a comprehensive picture of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and can be used for professional development or performance evaluation.
  4. Formal feedback: It is typically given in a structured setting, such as during a performance review or evaluation. It is often documented and can be used to inform decisions about promotion, compensation, or other career-related matters.
  5. Informal feedback: This feedback can be given at any time and may not be documented. It can be given by anyone, including coworkers, managers, or customers, and is often used to provide quick, on-the-spot feedback to address a specific issue.


Employee online surveys are a powerful tool to understand the thoughts and feelings of the team. Collecting and analyzing employee feedback through surveys allows the organizations to identify areas where improvements are needed, and make informed decisions for the benefit of the company. These surveys allow employees to share their feedback anonymously and honestly.

A feedback session requires careful preparation

Preparing for a feedback session

Benefits of proper planning

Managers have the responsibility of providing feedback to their team members in order to help them grow and improve. However, delivering constructive feedback can be a delicate task that requires careful preparation and execution. Without proper planning, it can easily become demotivating.

When it comes to giving feedback, preparing for the session is key to delivering constructive feedback that will be well-received. Here are some benefits of preparing for a feedback session:

  1. You’ll be able to better focus on the areas that need improvement.
  2. You can avoid coming across as confrontational or negative.
  3. You’ll be able to provide specific examples to back up your points.
  4. You can tailor your delivery to the employee’s needs and preferences.
  5. You’ll feel more confident and in control heading into the meeting.

Proactive strategies to ensure productive discussions

By taking the time to thoughtfully prepare for a discussion, you can ensure that the conversation is productive and helpful for both parties involved.

A few proactive strategies ensure productive discussions when delivering constructive criticism:

  1. Clarify your goals for the discussion. What do you hope to accomplish? What specific feedback do you need to give? Having a clear purpose for the discussion will help keep it focused and on track.
  2. Choose the right time and place. Timing is everything when it comes to difficult conversations. Make sure you pick a time when both parties are available and can give their full attention to the discussion. The setting should also be comfortable and conducive to open communication.
  3. Be direct and honest with your feedback. Avoid mincing words – it will only make the situation worse. Be clear and concise in your feedback, so there is no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
  4. Listen more than you speak. It’s important to allow the other person to share their side of things and fully express their thoughts and feelings. If you spend more time listening than talking, it will show that you respect their opinion and are willing to work together towards a resolution.
  5. Avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming we know what another person is thinking or feeling.

7 tips for giving feedback

Giving feedback can be daunting, but it’s essential to personal and professional growth. Here are some tips to help you give feedback constructively:

  1. Be timely: Give feedback after the behavior or action you’re commenting on as soon as possible. It can make the feedback less effective.
  2. Be constructive: Feedback should be aimed at helping the person improve, not tearing them down. Focus on offering actionable suggestions for improvement.
  3. Be focused: Stick to the topic at hand and avoid bringing up unrelated issues or personal biases.
  4. Be respectful: Give feedback respectfully and professionally. Avoid using harsh or judgmental language.
  5. Balance positive and negative feedback: While offering constructive criticism is important, it’s also important to acknowledge what the person is doing well.
  6. Follow up: Check in with the person after giving feedback to see if they’ve made any improvements or need additional support.

7 tips for receiving feedback

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. This quote is from Ken Blanchard, a renowned American author and talent management expert. But receiving feedback isn’t always easy. It can be uncomfortable to hear about areas where we need improvement. But by being open-minded and willing to listen, we can turn that discomfort into motivation for progress.

You may consider the following tips when receiving feedback:

  1. Be open-minded: Be open to feedback and willing to listen to constructive criticism. Avoid becoming defensive or dismissing feedback.
  2. Ask for clarification: If you need help understanding the feedback, ask for clarification. This can help you better understand the issue and make improvements.
  3. Say thank you: Acknowledge the person for offering feedback, even if it’s difficult to hear. This can help build trust and respect.
  4. Avoid taking it personally: Remember that feedback is aimed at helping you improve, not criticizing you personally. Avoid taking it as a personal attack.
  5. Focus on the behavior, not the person: Remember that feedback is about the behavior or action, not the person. Don’t take it as a reflection of your character or personality.
  6. Ask for support: If you need additional support or resources to improve, ask for help. This can help you take actionable steps toward improvement.
  7. Take action: Use the feedback to make positive changes and improve your performance. Follow up with the person who gave you the feedback to show that you’re committed to improving.


Feedback helps to assess the team member’s progress

How to give positive employee feedback

Giving positive feedback is an essential part of employee management. Positive feedback is used to recognize and reinforce good performance, and it helps to motivate employees and boost their confidence. When giving positive feedback, being specific, timely, and sincere is essential.

If you can’t think of any ideas, here are some useful expressions to give positive feedback:

  1. You’re doing amazing work, and it’s making a real difference around here.
  2. Your hard work is truly appreciated, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
  3. I’m impressed with your ability to take on new challenges and make them your own.
  4. Keep up the excellent work! Your positive attitude is great.
  5. Your dedication to this project has been outstanding, and it shows in the quality of your work.
  6. Thank you for always going above and beyond what’s expected of you.
  7. You have a talent for bringing out the best in people, and it’s evident in how well our team works together.
  8. Your contributions are invaluable to our company, and we’re lucky to have you on board.
  9. You’ve exceeded expectations yet again!
  10. Great job! Your attention to detail really paid off.


Useful expressions to give constructive feedback

Giving negative feedback is never easy, but it is necessary for growth and improvement. When giving negative feedback, being specific, objective, and constructive is essential. The feedback should focus on behaviors, not personalities, and should be delivered privately. It is important to provide examples of what needs improvement and offer suggestions for how to improve.

Here are some useful expressions to give constructive feedback:

  1. I appreciate your effort, but there are areas where we can improve together.
  2. Let’s work on ways to enhance your performance moving forward.
  3. I have noticed some opportunities for improvement and would like to discuss them with you.
  4. Your contributions are valuable, let’s see how we can maximize their impact.
  5. We must address these issues to help you reach your full potential.
  6. Can we brainstorm ways to overcome the challenges you’re facing?
  7. I believe in your abilities and want to support you in achieving your goals.
  8. Let’s set clear expectations and identify a plan of action for improvement.
  9. Your commitment to this team is appreciated, and I’d like to offer some constructive feedback.
  10. Setting clear expectations is key to success, so let’s take the time to establish those and create a plan for moving.



Employees and managers have the opportunity to grow and develop professionally if they are open to constructive feedback.

Clearly, feedback opens a path of growth whose value has no limits. The companies that embrace the feedback culture with a real commitment to listening and implement a personalized listening strategy for their workforce will be the ones that grow the fastest and become great places to work.

If you are an HR manager or decision-maker and want to implement a listening strategy for your employees, atwork can help you! We are sure that our employee feedback collection and analysis platform will help you to reduce employee turnover and improve engagement, among many other areas.

Be an organization that cares about employee feedback and wants to listen to them. Thanks for reading!