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Providing Effective Feedback

Posted By Jill Castleman, Georgetown Law CLE (Executive Leadership SIG co-chair), Friday, September 7, 2018
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This month’s blog post focuses on the topic of providing effective feedback. It’s not uncommon for managers to struggle when providing constructive feedback to employees. Providing feedback is important as it gives employees an opportunity to improve and grow professionally. It’s also a two-way street as employees should be given the opportunity to provide feedback to their managers. When preparing feedback, it’s important to remember that providing both the positive and the constructive is important. The employee or the manager will quickly tune out if the feedback is only constructive in nature.   

Included below are some quick tips for providing effective feedback and some helpful examples to help you master the skill. 

How to Give Effective Feedback

  • State the constructive purpose of your feedback
  • Describe specifically what you have observed
  • Describe your reactions and your observations of the effects on others
  • Give the other person an opportunity to respond
  • Offer very clear and specific suggestions – avoid ambiguity
  • Express your support, summarize clearly and follow up
  • Make your feedback specific to related behavior
  • Give timely feedback




Make it about a specific behavior

I am concerned about your punctuality. You have been 20 minutes late for the last three mornings.

You do not seem to care about your job.

Consider your timing (before in the form of advice)

I would like to review the content of your presentation with you before your speech next week so we can make sure all items are covered.

You have done such a poor job in the past, I need to preview your presentation you plan on giving next week.

Consider your timing (positive after an event)

You did an outstanding job in organizing your presentation for the meeting. The speech was well-researched and logical.

No feedback given.

Focus on behavior the employee can do something about

We would appreciate you keeping the team informed about the status of the project. How about scheduling a weekly status meeting?

Why are you so shy that you don’t like to talk to other people?

Solicit feedback rather than impose it

Linda, I heard you say you would like to learn how to handle your most difficult customer more effectively. Would you like me to share some techniques I have seen work?”

Vague/poor: – “Linda, I saw how you handled Mrs. Dawson during this crisis. It really stinks.

Do you have other tips for providing effective feedback to employees?  If so, please share!

Tags:  leadership  management  providing feedback 

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