5 Tips for Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

Share Article

Brad Karsh shares five tips for constructive feedback in the workplace to unlock efficient teams, clear communicators, and strong leaders.

News Image
Lack of communication contributes to 80 percent of workplace issues

At a September 18th event in Chicago, Brad Karsh, Founder and CEO of JB Training Solutions, compared constructive feedback in the workplace to a spinach salad, "Have you ever come home from work to find a huge piece of spinach in your teeth leftover from a salad at lunch? We all know how embarrassing this is, and how frustrating it is that none of your co-workers told you."

According to CareerBuilder:

66% of colleagues at your same level say they would tell a colleague about the spinach
60% say they would alert a lower-level worker
Only 49% would tell a higher up.

Constructive feedback in the workplace, in many ways, is perceived like spinach. People feel uncomfortable telling someone that they have spinach in their teeth, and people feel uncomfortable giving feedback at work.

The reality is that the majority of professionals cringe when it comes time for evaluations, self assessments, and even everyday feedback. Unfortunately, some managers communicate only when there is a problem, so employees tend to view feedback in a negative light. Lack of communication contributes to 80 percent of workplace issues. Constant communication and ongoing feedback are critical to well-functioning and high-performing individuals, teams, and organizations.

Believe it or not, feedback can be positive, worthwhile and even enjoyable. The key is knowing how to communicate when delivering and receiving feedback. Here are tips for giving and receiving feedback at work:

1. Give feedback daily
Often, feedback is associated with an annual review. Feedback should be day to day, and it doesn’t have to be formal, this is called Spot Coaching. For example, if you notice that someone is consistently speaking out of turn at meetings, mention it to them privately, and let them know how their behavior is being perceived. On the other hand, if a co-worker did a great job on a sales call, let them know right after the call and point out specific instances that were impressive.

2. Give feedback in person and in private
As tempting as it may be to hide behind e-mail, all feedback should be done face to face. This ensures that there is nothing lost in translation, and it allows feedback to be conversational. Individual performance feedback should be given in private. Eliminate interruptions.

3. Avoid the “feedback sandwich”
“Ryan, we really enjoy having you on the team. Just one little thing, there is $50,000 missing from the budget. Oh, and I really love that sweater.” Ryan will either only hear the positive, or only hear the negative. Instead use the 6 S framework: small buffer, state issue, show proof, signal importance, set expectation, and secure acceptance.

4. Receive feedback openly
Accept feedback from employees at all levels, from the CEO to the intern. Diffuse defensiveness by taking a break from the conversation and calmly regrouping on the topic the next day.

5. Be prepared with specifics
Take the guesswork out of receiving feedback by giving employees specific examples of their habits and specific tips moving forward.

Remember the spinach. Thinking of the spinach example reinforces the point that employees and managers alike want to know about their performance – the good, the bad and the ugly. Awareness is the only way for employees to grow and develop.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Julie Aker
Follow >
JB Training Solutions
Like >
Follow us on
Visit website