giving and receiving constructive feedback

 “If provided effectively, feedback can inspire, uplift, and motivate the recipient to do better. However, if the job is botched, bad feedback can result in lingering anger, demotivation, resentment, loss of respect, and permanent damage to the relationship.”
- Fast Company


Giving and receiving constructive feedback is undoubtedly a delicate process but there is no denying its benefits in helping to identify and solve issues in the workplace.

Unfortunately, it carries such a negative connotation because most of our experiences with it are focused around criticism rather than reinforcing how we can improve. But what exactly is constructive feedback?

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is an insight given to employees that has the potential to:

  1. improve employee moral
  2. enhance team or workplace unity
  3. clarify job expectations
  4. positively impact employee behavior

Examples of constructive feedback include:

  1. Your accounting logs have had some mistakes lately. From now on review your logs twice before completion, and email a copy to your floor leader before submitting them to improve accuracy.
  2. Your department is not as aesthetic as corporate would prefer. From now on set aside an extra hour each work day to tidy up your department, and focus on merchandising to increase sales. 


It must be noted however, that not all feedback given to individuals and employees is always constructive. Depending on tone of voice and a number of other factors, feedback may also be classified as  destructive feedback.

What is destructive feedback?

Instead of providing insights to employees, destructive feedback only highlights a persons faults. Destructive feedback tends to have the following consequences:

  1. reduction in employee moral
  2. fails to benefit employees
  3. negatively impacts employee behavior
  4. depletes team or workplace unity

Examples of destructive feedback include:

  1. That's not right.
  2. Are you even trying?
  3. This is horrible work!

how to give constructive feedback to employees

Giving Feedback

While it’s completely understandable why giving your employees constructive feedback would make you uncomfortable, studies show that that’s exactly what most of your employees want to hear!
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman conducted a study in 2014 on employees' attitudes towards “positive” and “corrective” feedback, and the results were that an astonishing 92% believed “negative” feedback was more effective in improving overall performance.
Another interesting take away from the study is that those employees who favored constructive feedback also rated their managers highest for being honest and straight forward, linking to better communication within the office space.
This can be considered one of the most proactive ways to help in ensuring employees are meeting expectations and challenging themselves professionally. When given properly, constructive feedback can help your employees reach their professional goals.
How To: Giving Constructive Feedback to Your Employees and Co-workers
  1. Schedule a one-on-one session
  2. Show respect
  3. Stay objective
  4. Be specific
  5. Provide ideas for improvement
  6. Find a solution together
  7. Schedule a follow up

Receiving Feedback 

Potentially hearing negative things about yourself or your work is less than ideal, but it is a moment that we have all dealt with at some point in our careers.
Without constructive feedback we would be oblivious to our faults and areas that need improvement. Naturally, most of us would rather avoid these conversations all together but when taken in the right spirit receiving constructive feedback can help improve our weaknesses and help our overall performance.
Like most things in life you must start somewhere and begin that initial line of communication. These are some of the toughest moments we will face in our careers but if you follow these steps, you'll be just fine.
How To: Receiving Constructive Feedback in the Workplace:
  1. Have an open mind
  2. Do not show your frustration
  3. Don’t take it personally
  4. Follow up with a positive action

Key Points

Just remember that constructive feedback in the workplace is important. It is a key component in every workplace's success story, so make sure that it is something you’re not neglecting.
If done properly it can positively impact your employees' career growth. And, it can boost morale, keep your workplace culture alive, and improve employee engagement.

Dexcomm is a Louisiana-based corporation that provides answering services to businesses and service agencies across the United States. We have been open since 1954, employ a staff of roughly 80 people, and our average client retention rate is 10+ years.

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Read More About The Author: Wendy Hebert-Pitre