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Let’s improve the way we provide feedback

Mirjana Mladič

Providing high-quality feedback is crucial in creating an environment where employees feel valued, develop their skills, and contribute to the company’s success. It is important that every team leader, manager, mentor, or even colleague who works together with one or more colleagues on a specific task or project can provide constructive, accurate, and timely feedback. This will make further collaboration even more successful, and relationships among employees more authentic.

Quality feedback is not just a tool for the personal growth of employees; it is a fundamental building block of a successful organizational culture. To prevent misinterpretation of messages and potential negative reactions while achieving the desired progress, it is crucial how we deliver these pieces of information.


How can we be more effective in providing feedback?

Give them frequently

Feedback doesn’t necessarily have to be performance evaluations. There’s no need for long essays and detailed comments. They are most effective when they are frequent and consistent, as this empowers employees and guides them in the right direction to achieve their goals. Instead of, for example, a manager waiting for developmental conversations or a mentor for the final evaluation of a probationary task, it’s better to provide feedback regularly after completed projects, successful tasks, during weekly meetings, or in mentoring sessions. This way, employees can immediately recognize their good work, and we can quickly address any issues.

Let’s be timely

When we provide feedback is crucial because it’s most effective when »the iron is still hot.« Think of a scenario, for example, when a colleague achieves outstanding results in the latest marketing campaign or successfully carries out a complex repair on an expensive machine independently. Instead of praising this achievement a month later, do it immediately when the task is completed. This will reinforce the feeling that their work is noticed and appreciated.

Let’s be kind and considerate

It’s desirable that the person giving feedback is a source of support, trust, and leadership. Always think of your colleagues as team members working towards a common goal, and maintain a sincere and empathetic relationship with them. When providing feedback, for example, you can say, »I really liked how you structured the presentation clearly. Next time, you could emphasize practical examples even more.« Feedback doesn’t necessarily have to be praise; it can also be a friendly and specific suggestion for improvement.

Let’s be open

Open dialogue opens more doors and opportunities for collaborative solutions. Instead of just telling your colleagues how to improve their contributions to a project, ask them what they think they could do differently. For example, »How would you approach this situation?« Open-ended questions will encourage colleagues to think and take an active role in finding solutions.

Let’s be precise

General feedback just for the sake of it isn’t overly useful. It’s crucial to be specific, whenever possible, support your guidance with examples, and be available for further clarification. If we want a colleague to improve a prepared report, don’t just tell them to »fix it,« but provide guidelines and suggestions on how they can enhance it further.

Let’s regularly monitor progress

If we want to achieve specific goals or improve performance, it is crucial to set precise steps to reach the desired result. It’s important to involve colleagues in co-creating well-defined, time-bound, and measurable goals and steps. Of course, we should regularly track progress and encourage team members to report on their achievements along the way, making it clear that we are available to provide additional support if needed.

Feedback is a »two-way street«. When we are aware of this when giving and receiving feedback, the benefits are mutual.

Growth is mutual. That’s why it’s beneficial for companies to encourage and cultivate a feedback culture, whether through regular developmental discussions, mentoring, opportunities for giving praise or receiving feedback, thereby further supporting the development of employees, fostering a positive organizational culture, and building open relationships.

Source: 6 Guidelines on How You Can Improve Feedback Delivery as a Leader – eHRM