22 constructive feedback techniques for managers

Office Vibe , a software I’ve previously used and sometimes recommend for staff sentiment tracking, are producing some great content right now. A recent article summarising 22 Constructive feedback examples & tips for managers was a useful and easy read.

You can read the full article, here, but I’ve summarised some of the points below:

Tardiness and absenteeism

Is an employee frequently late to team meetings or running behind in the morning? When discussing the issue, show genuine concern, set clear expectations, and avoid an accusatory tone.

“I’ve noticed that you’re struggling to make your afternoon sessions with the team, and I’m concerned that you may miss some vital information. Can we work together to develop a plan to make sure that this doesn’t happen again?”

“We’ve missed you during our morning meetings. I know you have a heavy workload, but we value your input and ideas. How can I support you in improving your time management skills?”

Declining performance

If you notice an employee’s performance declining, a logical explanation likely exists. Take a generalist approach.

 “The team has noticed that you’ve missed some deadlines lately. Is everything ok? Let’s schedule some time to chat where we can assess current workload, any roadblocks, and develop a plan so that you can get back to feeling focused and productive in your day-to-day.”

Pro tip: Offer a one-on-one meeting in a private, judgment-free environment for employees who have trouble opening up.

Speaking over others

While a passionate employee is good, talking over others isn’t conducive to productivity—or collaboration.

 “I appreciate the passion you bring to the project! However, you also need to make space for others in the conversation. Letting others talk will support your development, and it will also help other members of the team bring their creative solutions. Let’s come up with a solution that utilises your passion and that of the team.” 

 “I love the creativity and new ideas you bring to our brainstorming sessions. But, when you get excited, sometimes you forget to share the floor. When I’m in a creative flow, I write down my ideas while others speak so I can remember them. Would you like to try that during our next group collaboration?” 

Negative attitude

Even one team member with a toxic attitude can significantly affect employee morale. Constructive feedback can stop this issue in its tracks before it becomes too disruptive to the team.

“Hey, I wanted to check how you’ve been feeling lately. Can we talk about what’s bothering you? I appreciate how hard you’ve been working, and I would like to help you solve your problems. We can talk privately or schedule a peer-to-peer meeting for an open and honest discussion.” 

Recurring mistakes

Mistakes happen. And when they don’t get addressed, they often happen again. Take a moment to course correct and avoid mistakes becoming habits. 

 “You’re generally very good at learning from past mistakes, but the team has noticed you making this one similar mistake during the current project. Understandably, such small things may slip through the cracks, but I wanted to flag it so that you can be more vigilant in the future.”

Pro tip: During your one-on-one session, empathise with the employee to build a positive, judgment-free vibe. Give concise, clear guidance and maintain an understanding but firm attitude.

Poor teamwork skills

Evaluating your team’s collaboration skills should be a top priority for leaders. Focus on creating a mutually supportive environment and improving employee morale.

 “You’ve got the talent and drive to be a shining star in this company, but you tend to stay apart from the wider team. What do you think would help you integrate better with your teammates?” 

Ineffective communication

Effective communication between a manager and employees is a critical component of success. Providing regular, constructive feedback is vital for improving communication in a group setting and during one-on-one meetings.

“I’ve noticed that we sometimes have a communication mismatch. Do you want to work together to understand better how we can communicate more effectively?”

Pro tip: Providing feedback helps employees feel recognised and boosts the employee experience. Keep your communication clear, objective, authentic, and fact-based.

Missing goals

Employees with a solid commitment to their job will have moments when they feel disappointed and guilty about missing a goal. Acknowledge their disappointment and lift them back up by giving feedback that offers actionable solutions to prevent the same missed opportunity in the future.

“Your work ethic and dedication to achieving goals are admirable and a valuable part of this team. I know you’re upset that Project X didn’t go exactly as planned, but it’s a meaningful learning experience. How can we realign your goals moving forward to ensure success?” 

Negative interpersonal relationships and gossip

People who genuinely like each other produce extraordinary teamwork.

“I know you may have heard something negative about X, and I’ve noticed that many team members share your concerns. Shall we get together and set the record straight?” 

Lack of initiative to solve problems 

Every successful manager pushes employees to take the initiative when problem-solving. It facilitates productivity and growth, and development on the team. Encourage independence, but be clear that any employee who feels stuck can come to you for help.

“I’m glad that you’re comfortable asking for help. That’s an important skill. Next time you need a hand, I would like to see you bring forth possible solutions along with your request.” 

Difficulty applying critiques

For constructive feedback to be effective, it needs to be clear, concise, and contain actionable guidance. Set your team up for success by outlining clear boundaries regarding workload and expectations, and offer the space to open up conversations around the feedback.

 “I know performance reviews can be challenging to hear, and you may not agree with all of the constructive criticism you’ve received. If there’s anything you want to discuss further, please feel free to reach out.” 

A great starting point and alternative approach for difficult conversations and situations.

Andy.

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If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues.