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The do’s and don’ts for constructive feedback in your organization

The word “feedback” appears regularly in many HR blogs these days, but unfortunately it is not always applied properly. With us, however, the importance of constructive feedback is paramount. It is a valuable communication tool that helps individuals and teams grow and develop. Constructive feedback is honest, respectful and focused on improvement, with concrete suggestions and solutions. On the other hand, negative feedback can be discouraging. This blog will look at the meaning and difference between the two forms, provide examples of constructive feedback, and discuss key do’s and don’ts. We will also explore the role of tools in exchanging constructive feedback.

 

What is constructive feedback

At Learned, we are big believers in exchanging constructive feedback. This is a valuable communication tool that aids in the growth and development of individuals and teams. It includes providing specific, objective and useful information about a person’s performance or behavior, with the intention of promoting positive change. Constructive feedback is constructive, honest, respectful and focused on improvement. It highlights both strengths and areas in need of improvement, offering concrete suggestions and solutions. By providing constructive feedback, leaders and colleagues can create a positive work environment that encourages growth, motivation and better performance.

 

Difference of constructive feedback from negative feedback

Sounds simple, right? But why does the exchange of feedback still often go wrong? Constructive feedback is often confused with negative feedback. Negative feedback differs from constructive feedback in that it focuses primarily on highlighting problems, mistakes or shortcomings, without giving much thought to possible solutions or growth. Unlike constructive feedback, negative feedback can be destructive or discouraging to the recipient.

For example, negative feedback can be laden with criticism, general condemnation or insults. It can damage relationships between people and reduce motivation and commitment. Constructive feedback, on the other hand, aims to help the recipient improve, learn and develop.

 

Examples of constructive feedback

Of course, we would like to see everyone engage in as much constructive feedback sharing as possible. Need a little extra inspiration? Surely one of the following examples will look familiar to you?

  • “You did a great job during the presentation. You presented the information clearly and used engaging examples to support your points. I think it would be even more effective if you spoke a little slower so the audience has time to absorb everything. Keep up the good work!”
  • “I appreciate your commitment to meeting deadlines and your accuracy in completing tasks. However, I noticed that you have a tendency to make too much hay at times, causing you to become stressed and compromising your quality. Perhaps we could work together on better planning to ensure that your tasks are distributed more realistically and you can continue to give your best.”
  • “I want to thank you for your creative ideas during our team meeting. You really contributed to the brainstorming process. I think it would be even more effective if you structured your ideas a little more so that it is easier for others to understand them. Maybe we could use a template or a visual presentation to organize your thoughts. Great work and let’s work together to make your ideas even more powerful!”

Do’s and dont’s of constructive feedback

These examples click simple, of course, but the techniques used here can be applied to a great many situations. Similarly, when exchanging constructive feedback, there are certain “do’s” to apply and “don’ts” to avoid.

Do’s:

  • Be specific and objective: Focus your feedback on concrete examples and behaviors, rather than using general wording. Be honest and provide clear information about what is going well and what can be improved.
  • Offer solutions and support: Constructive feedback is not only about identifying problems, but also about providing possible solutions. Give suggestions, offer help and support to help the recipient grow and develop.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t get defensive or personal: Avoid making personal attacks or giving feedback that could be taken as criticism. Feedback should focus on the behavior or performance, not the person themselves. Remain respectful and open-minded during the conversation.
  • Don’t give vague or general feedback: Feedback should be specific and actionable. Avoid vague statements such as “You need to be better” and instead provide specific examples and suggestions for improvement. This allows the recipient to actually take action to develop themselves.

 

Role of tooling in exchanging constructive feedback

Over the past few years, we see a trend in which it has become increasingly common to exchange feedback through software tools. Kind of easy of course! In fact, these types of tools provide a structured and documented way to give and receive feedback, thus avoiding misunderstandings. In addition, these tools facilitate the process of providing feedback because they often offer templates, rating scales and comment fields. Moreover, these tools promote transparency and engagement by allowing feedback from multiple stakeholders. Finally, they enable remote feedback, allowing teams scattered across different locations to work together more effectively.

 

Create a culture full of constructive feedback with Learned

Exchanging feedback has never been easier with the Learned platform. Within a few clicks, you will have sent another load of tips&tops to your colleagues and team members. Ideal for quickly processing your feedback after completing a project, for example, or a presentation by your colleague. Collateral benefit? All feedback you record in Learned is displayed as a “reminder” when preparing for your next conversation. That way you always have a relevant example situation at hand!