Giving feedback is a great way to quickly improve performance, our effective feedback examples will help you. But first, here’s one example of how NOT to do it:

Great meeting Jane, well done!

Giving this kind of positive feedback might feel good, but it doesn’t provide any guidance to Jane about what she has done well and what she should continue to do in the future. You can do better.

 

Effective feedback examples

Here are three effective feedback examples, which apply the structure to feedback that recognizes good performance (that you want to continue).

Examples of feedback to reinforce good performance

Jane, I noticed that you had some great ideas in the meeting, as a result the client could really see the value we provide to them, thank you. In future, please keep those great ideas rolling!

Jin, this report makes really good use of data to support your points, as a result it’s very persuasive. Well done! In future please keep this up.

Siew Ling, you followed up really promptly with that vendor, it helped us keep the project on track, well done. Keep that up as we complete this project, it’s really important to our success.

It’s quick and simple, something you could say as you walk back to the office after a meeting, and now each person knows what they’ve done well, and what you want them to continue to do in the future.

Here are three more effective feedback examples, for when things didn’t go so well and you want to encourage new behaviors.

Examples of feedback when things haven’t gone so well

Jane, I noticed that you didn’t contribute during the meeting, as a result the client will be wondering why you’re there. In future, please prepare in advance of the meeting and contribute to the discussion.

Jin, this report needs more data to support your points, with more data it will be more persuasive for the readers. Take a little more time to add the data that justifies your arguments.

Siew Ling, I noticed that it took you a day or two to follow up with that vendor, as a result we’re now a little behind schedule on the project. In future, please follow up immediately so that we can get the project back on track. Thank you.

A simple structure for effective feedback

From the feedback examples above, you can probably already see that there is a simple structure for giving effective feedback:

1. “I noticed that… (a specific behavior you’ve observed)”
2. “As a result… (the consequences)”
3. “In future, please… (desired future behavior)”

This structure can be used to recognize and reinforce good performance. It can also be used when things haven’t gone so well and you want to redirect your team member towards new behaviors.

The SBI feedback model is a similar structure and has the same benefits.

Ask for permission to give feedback, then start a dialogue

Often the structure above is sufficient. It works well for quick feedback that will be easily understood and accepted. However, if you feel that there’s a risk your team member will respond defensively, or that there’s a need for a bigger discussion, you need ask for permission then start a dialogue. 

Examples of how to ask for permission to give feedback

Asking for permission to give feedback helps prepare your team member. It’s a signal of what’s to come and gives them the option of deferring the discussion. Here are examples of how to ask for permission to give feedback:

I have some thoughts on your participation in that meeting. Can I share with you now? 

I’d like to give you some feedback, is now a good time?

Do you have a moment to catch up about how XXX went?

All of these approaches allow your team member to politely defer if they feel that would be more productive.

How to start a dialogue

This couldn’t be simpler. There’s only one phrase you really need, which can be used for all occasions:

What are your thoughts on this?

This is a neutral, open question that allows your team member to respond as they wish. The may disagree, they may ask for clarification, they may share other opinions. Asking this question allows you to transition into dialogue with your team member. 

5 tips to make feedback work for you

Giving effective feedback to your team is one of the most powerful ways of guiding and improving their performance.

Use the structure above, and follow these 5 simple tips:

  1. Focus on specific, observable behavior. This reduces the risk of confusion and disagreement.
  2. Use the full range of feedback opportunities. Immediate feedback has great impact. The reinforce the feedback in 1-1 meetings and provide more strategic feedback in performance reviews or career discussions. Using the full range of opportunities will make your feedback more effective.
  3. Be balanced. Provide feedback on what went well, to reinforce good practices and also to redirect your team when they haven’t done so well, using this same structure.
  4. Be consistent. Make sure you’re clear about the behaviors you want to build in your team, and that they’re aligned with your team goals.
  5. Follow up. Keep a note of the feedback you’ve provided, and make sure that you’re following up on key points in your formal reviews.

Also, consider requesting feedback too, so that you’re able to establish effective feedback collaboration.

For more advice on effective feedback:

In Summary

Giving feedback in this way supports your team, helping them clearly understand what they’ve done well, and how to improve. Give feedback in your 1-1 meetings with your team members.

It helps them to stay on track and achieve their goals and starts to build a feedback culture.

Next time you’re tempted to say “Great meeting Jane”, pause, take a breath, and remember the three steps of effective feedback, starting with: “I noticed that…”.

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