How to Give Feedback

5 Tips for Providing Performance Feedback

Providing feedback to others allows someone to recognize what they have done well or what they can improve upon. By providing feedback you can help reinforce positive behaviour so that the person will continue the behaviour and become more confident while doing so. Feedback can also help others to identify actions or behaviours that can be improved and recommendations for how best to develop and to grow.

What is Feedback?

Feedback can be informal or formal. Informal feedback can be provided on a day to day basis and include comments on how well someone is doing or how things can be improved upon. Formal feedback can be provided during formal or structured performance reviews or developmental discussions aimed at discussing strengths and opportunities for learning and development.

Tips for Giving Feedback

Tip 1: Consider the reason behind why you want to give feedback

It is important that feedback be provided for the right reasons. Ask yourself, why are you giving the feedback? You want to give feedback so the person can learn and grow and continue to build on their strengths and areas in need of development. You don’t want to be giving feedback because you are looking to blame someone for something that went wrong, or you are in a bad mood, or you are looking to feel powerful.

Tip 2: Choose an appropriate time and location

Once you have decided you are giving someone feedback for the right reason, it is important to consider the best time and place to deliver that feedback. It is best to:

  • Give feedback as soon as possible after an activity or event (e.g., within 24 hrs.).
  • Allow enough time to discuss the feedback.
  • Choose a location to deliver the feedback that is not threatening to the person and will make them feel comfortable (e.g., office or meeting room).
  • Deliver negative feedback or constructive feedback when you are alone. Don’t provide negative feedback in front of others.
  • Wait to give feedback if you are feeling angry or upset or if the person receiving the feedback is angry or upset.

Tip 3: Give feedback regularly

Feedback should be given on an ongoing basis. You do not have to wait until a formal performance review to give feedback.

Tip 4: Give balanced feedback

Don’t forget to provide feedback when something goes well. Positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback.

Tip 5: Discuss specific examples

By providing specific examples, it makes it easier for the person to identify what needs to change. Feedback should focus on behaviours and their impact, and not on the person. For example, the following feedback would not be very helpful:

  • “You did not handle that well.”
  • “You did a great job managing that project.”
  • “I feel that you did a good job communicating your point.”
  • “You behaved unprofessionally.”

Instead, you can use the following format to provide specific examples:

The who, what, where, or details of the situation.
Customer x experienced an issue with the delivery of their software solution.
Expecations in terms of the behaviours or tasks.
As per one of our core values, we strive to put the customer first.
The action that the person took or how they responded.
You met with the technical team to identify the issue and discuss possible solutions. You then met with the client to explain how you would address the issue. You kept the client up to date throughout the process and followed up with them to ensure that their issue was resolved.
The impact or outcome of the actions taken.
The technical team was appreciative of your support and that you brought the issue to their attention. The customer expressed their satisfaction with how you resolved the issue and said they would continue to do business with us.

To learn more about providing feedabck and using competencies for all of your Learning and Development activities, check out our Learning and Development Toolkit!