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Delivering Effective Feedback

Delivering feedback is an important and necessary aspect of a Leader’s job. For their individual success and for the success of your organization, you want to develop your team members to advance in their abilities and careers. To do so, you need to share your observations often. When you give an assessment correctly and with good intent, all feedback is positive, even when it’s in the form of constructive criticism.


How skilled are you in providing feedback to your employees? Whether you are good, great, or not so great, a few key elements are necessary to make each session effective:


  • Start with a positive intent. Is the information you want to share truly meant to help the receiver? Regardless of whether you are being critical of someone’s performance or you are expressing praise, you must begin with kindness and good intention.

  • Be timely. Feedback is more effective when it is delivered promptly. The longer you wait after an incident has occurred, you risk distortion of your and your employee’s perspectives. In addition, you want to give them the opportunity to adjust, improve, and course correct as soon as possible. Why wait?

  • Meet face to face and in private. In person is best when possible, though a virtual meeting is better than difficult comments being delivered through email or text. Schedule an appropriate amount of time to allow for conversation and questions, and be certain other people are not able to eavesdrop.

  • Be detailed, clear, and constructive. Provide examples of your observations, using “I” statements, rather than “you” statements. Deliver your comments in a positive manner, being mindful of your tone, word choice, and body language. At the same time, be straightforward and precise so your message cannot be misunderstood. Allow the recipient to ask questions and clarify statements to prevent any “I didn’t know that” moments in the future.

  • Focus on one or two things. Having the conversation may be overwhelming, and you want to come out of it with your team member’s confidence intact. If you pile on one thing after another after another, the person on the receiving end will feel defeated and defensive. Instead, choose the most immediate or impactful areas of improvement, and discuss those.

  • Seek solutions. Be sure that your employee knows that you want them to be successful and that you want to work toward a resolution together. If you can agree upon actions to take moving forward, both you and your employee will feel that the conversation was productive and valuable. That said, if the meeting starts to become overly heated or emotional, you may need to pause, take time to process, and come back to finish the discussion. Set a specific time to resume or to follow up on next steps, and then hold yourself and your employee accountable for that date.


By meeting regularly with each member of your team and providing feedback often, you ensure that each person you work with knows exactly where they stand. There are no surprises. The flip side is that you encourage your team to provide feedback to you by creating an environment of trust and respect. If they don’t know where to start, tell them to read this blog. 😊

conversation between two businesswomen


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