People - Top Tips - Feedback




This document is designed as a quick reference guide to feedback.

This will enable you to gain knowledge of a particular skill, task or process in the workplace. This means you can quickly find the key information that you need and refer to it on an ongoing basis whenever you need to refresh your knowledge.



Feedback is another method of learning. When we have an understanding of our environment and our behaviour in relation to it, we will make adjustments that we believe to be necessary.

In the workplace, feedback provides us with additional information that allows us to identify a gap or opportunity that we may not have otherwise known about.


Sometimes when giving feedback, we might anticipate a bad response and either choose to say nothing or even end up saying too much.

If we don’t manage the communication carefully when giving feedback, the information will not be well received; no learning will occur and therefore little will be done to bridge the gap.


People - Top Tips - Feedback

What you need to know

When giving direct feedback, try to mix motivational and developmental points. It may be useful to follow a format such as either of these:








‘What I liked was.....


‘What I disliked was.......


‘What I’d like you to change is......








‘When you did this...’


‘It had this effect…’


‘What I’d like you to change is......






When giving your feedback, bear in mind the points below:


Clean Feedback vs Dirty Feedback





Own the feedback and give it directly - 1st hand


‘I thought that.....


‘They said it was.....


Concentrate on the behaviour not the personality


‘Several times you interrupted John’


‘You were bossy and dominating’


Be specific, objective and accurate


‘You ignored all my comments which really frustrated me’


‘You didn’t listen to anyone’


Be timely – be sensitive with this if the person is upset


‘In the meeting yesterday you…’


‘There was a time last Christmas when you…’


Only acknowledge things which can be changed


‘It would be helpful if you spoke up more in meetings’


‘You’ve got a really squeaky voice!’


Give suggestions for development


‘How about you move into the group more’


‘No-one can see you back there’


Be motivational

‘I know you can do this’

‘There’ll be trouble if you don’t…’


Do not ignore the negatives

‘I’d prefer you to look at me when I’m speaking’


‘It was mostly OK’




It may of course be that you have good news for someone. If this is the case give the feedback openly without any catch:


Be motivational with good news too!

‘That was a great job you did on that section, well done.’

‘…that was great now you can go do all the others’


People - Top Tips - Feedback

What you need to know

When giving other people feedback or helping them to give themselves feedback, make sure it is of use to them. You can do this by making sure your feedback is helpful, as shown on the diagram below:




People - Top Tips - Feedback

What you need to know

Self-given feedback

If you can help the other person to give themselves feedback, it will usually be more powerful. Give them the first chance to speak, using a question such as:


     How do you think that went?’ or

     How well do you think you did on..........?


They can then bring out the areas in which they did well or less well.

If at all possible try to steer them onto a positive point first. As they bring out these points, respond accordingly, so give praise if it is due, such as:


     Yes, I liked the way you used a soft tone to calm the customer’.


They will be pleased to have the good points recognised and praised.

If the other person has only negative comments, ask why this is, e.g.


     ‘What do you think may have caused your customer to respond like that?’


     ‘What do you think didn't work as well as it might have?’


They will be more likely to accept the points if they bring them out themselves. When they have given their thoughts, follow up with a question such as:


     ‘How do you think you might do that differently next time?’ or

     ‘What effect do you think that might have?’

They are more likely to make the change if they identify it themselves.

Receiving feedback

It will be worth encouraging the other person to accept the feedback constructively, in order to gain the most from it, as if they can accept feedback well, people will be more inclined to make the effort to provide it.


Some tips:



Good Example

Bad Example



Active listening

Failing to concentrate


Clarify, check that you understand


‘What part of the meeting was this in?’


Yeah, okay, whatever’


Probe what is meant

‘Can you give me an example of that?’


‘Yes, but....’


Keep it in context

‘So it’s when I’m busy that I do this’


‘I hardly ever do that’


Acknowledge it

‘’I hadn’t realised it had that effect on you’


‘No-one else has said that’


Use it

‘I’ll make a point of doing that in future’

‘You can’t please all the people all the time’


Don’t be defensive

‘What makes you say that?’


‘You’ve got me wrong, I just.....


Accept praise where it’s due



‘Thank you’

‘It was nothing.......


Acknowledge feelings

Be aware of and sensitive to the other person’s feelings when you are giving feedback. When we receive feedback, we go - however briefly - through up to five stages, which may be described as:


     Shock What did they say!

     Anger ‘How dare they say that!’

     Rejection ‘I’m not like that at all!’

     Acceptance ‘Well, maybe there is something in it’

     Honesty ‘Yes, I am like that’


Acceptance may not be immediate; a person may prefer to go away and think about the feedback before wanting to discuss it further with you.