5 Strategies to Give Feedback to Your Coworkers (with Real-Life Examples) (2022)

The thought of giving constructive criticism to your coworker might make you nervous, but the truth is, people want feedback—even if it could be perceived as critical. In fact, according to data outlined in a 2016 Forbes article, nearly ⅔ of employees (65 percent) want more feedback—and according to data outlined in 2014 article for the Harvard Business Review, a whopping 92 percent agreed that negative (or redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.

Clearly, your coworkers want to hear feedback—and by providing that feedback in an honest and helpful way, you can not only help improve their performance, but also establish yourself as a better colleague and leader within your organization.

But how, exactly, do you do that? How can you deliver feedback in a way that will not only ensure your peers are receptive to hearing it, but also shows them that you have their best interests in mind?

  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Meet in person.
  • Don’t make it personal.
  • Back up your feedback with examples.
  • Don’t reserve feedback for criticism.

1 Practice, practice, practice.

One of the key elements of a successful feedback conversation with a coworker? Proper preparation.

Providing a peer with constructive feedback can be hard, but not impossible,” says Betty Rodriguez, Senior Workplace Analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com. “If you prepare for the conversation, you are more likely to have a valuable exchange.”

Before you approach your colleague to deliver feedback, take the time to plan out how you want the conversation to go. What feedback do you want to deliver? How do you want to deliver that feedback? What examples can you share that will help them better understand your feedback? Practice exactly what you’re going to say and, if possible, ask a trusted colleague (like your manager) to listen and offer any insights on your delivery—and how you might be more effective.

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If you’re delivering challenging feedback, you should also have a plan in place for what to do if the conversation goes south.

“You should expect and anticipate potential defensiveness, and think ahead of time about how you will respond to it,” says Chuck Mollor, co-founder and CEO of leadership development and talent optimization firm McG Partners. “Be self-aware of your potential emotional reaction to someone getting defensive, especially if they become emotional. The more you can anticipate and prepare, the better the chances the conversation doesn’t get heated or escalate.”

The point is, the more you plan and practice, the better prepared you’ll be to deliver feedback in effectively—and the more likely it will be your coworker will receive it effectively.

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2 Meet in person.

In an attempt to minimize your discomfort, you might be tempted to deliver challenging feedback through digital channels (like email or Slack). But if you want your feedback to land well with your colleague, you need to resist that temptation, fight through the discomfort, and deliver your feedback in person.

“Providing feedback in person sends a message that your feedback is important,” says Mollor. “You can’t connect over the phone, text, [or] email… in the same way you can in person. Your ability to read a person, and for them read you, is a significant benefit. When you are both more comfortable with each other, the feedback can be richer, more meaningful, more accurate, and more honest.”

Things have a tendency to get lost in translation over digital channels. If you send feedback over email, for example, your colleague might misinterpret your tone—and immediately go on the defensive.

If you and your colleague work in the same office, set a time to meet in person. If you need to deliver feedback to a remote coworker, schedule a time to hop on a video conference so you can deliver the feedback face-to-face. Having a conversation in person (or, if working remotely, over video) is the most effective way to deliver feedback—and can help ensure that your message doesn’t get misinterpreted.

3 Don’t make it personal.

As mentioned, the majority of employees are open to feedback. But what most people aren’t as open to? Unsolicited opinions.

“High-achieving organizations train employees to provide feedback based on data points,” says Rodriguez. “This not only helps reduce confusion but also mitigates any feelings of anxiety or self-defense.

A feedback conversation isn’t an opportunity to share your opinions on how they do their job. It’s an opportunity to share your fact-based observations on their job performance in an honest, straightforward way.

In a January 2019 article for Harvard Business Review, Joseph Grenny, author and co-founder of corporate training and leadership development firm VitalSmarts writes:

“Don’t start a crucial conversation by sharing your conclusion. Share the facts and premises that led you to your conclusion. Lay out your data. Explain the logic you used to arrive where you did. Gathering the facts is required homework for a healthy conversation.”

It’s also important to steer away from pointing fingers or making sweeping generalizations.

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“When talking to peers and coworkers, it is important to avoid accusatory and inflammatory language that is likely to provoke negative feelings,” says Jeff Rouse, Sr. HR Consultant, at Strategic HR Inc. “It’s important to avoid statements that are labeling such as ‘you’re doing a lousy job’ or ‘you’re lazy.’ Instead, focus on what is actually observable, like work results or costs to the business.”

5 Strategies to Give Feedback to Your Coworkers (with Real-Life Examples) (3)

Real-life example

Let’s say you have a coworker who constantly misses project deadlines—and it’s making it challenging for you to get your work done on time. A not-so-helpful way to deliver the feedback would be saying something like:

  • “You’re so irresponsible; you keep dropping the ball on these deadlines and then I’m the one who ends up looking bad because I can’t get anything done!”

If you want to be more effective, stay away from getting personal and stick to the facts:

  • “So, I’ve noticed that deadlines A, B, and C were missed on dates X, Y, and Z. Because those deadlines weren’t hit, my team didn’t have the assets they needed to complete the next stage of the project on time. How can we work together to make sure that doesn’t happen moving forward?”

By keeping things based in fact instead of getting personal (“these deadlines were missed on these dates” vs. “you’re so irresponsible, always missing deadlines!”), you lay the groundwork for a more objective conversation—and make it easier to work towards a solution with your coworker.

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4 Back up your feedback with examples.

Building on the last point, the more objective you can make your feedback, the easier it will be for your coworker to receive—and that includes backing up your feedback with plenty of examples.

In an article for Harvard Business Review on what good feedback really looks like, Craig Chappelow, leadership solutions facilitator, Americas and Cindy McCauley, senior fellow, Americas at the Center for Creative Leadership write:

“Feedback providers first note the time and place in which a behavior occurred. Then they describe the behavior — what they saw and heard. The final step is to describe the impact the behavior had in terms of the feedback providers’ thoughts, feelings or actions.”

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Real-life example

Let’s say you’re working with a colleague on a copy project—and they’re consistently delivering work with typos, grammatical errors, and other mistakes. Instead of making a general statement like:

  • “Your work is riddled with mistakes!”

… share concrete examples of those mistakes—and how those mistakes directly impacted you and your work. So, you might say something along the lines of:

  • “I’ve been noticing a lot of mistakes in your copy recently. In article A you submitted last Monday, there were 10 typos in your draft. In article B, submitted last Wednesday, there were run-on sentences in the final two paragraphs. And in article C, submitted yesterday, the conclusion wasn’t finished before you sent over your draft for review. Receiving copy from you that hasn’t been edited really pushes back the project timeline; I spent an extra hour editing each of these articles before I was able post them to the website. I know you can write amazing copy; how can I support you to get your editing in a better place?”

By taking this approach, you’re not only providing concrete, indisputable examples to support your feedback, but you’re also framing it in a way that shows your colleagues you care about them, their job performance, and their growth—which can make them more open and receptive to making changes.

5 Don’t reserve feedback for criticism.

One of the best ways to make sure your coworkers are open to your feedback? Making sure to deliver just as much positive feedback as criticism.

In the aforementioned HBR article, Chappelow and McCauley write:

“Positive feedback is critical for learning. People are often quick to notice what’s wrong, but it’s equally important to pay attention to and provide input on what is working to support development.”

5 Strategies to Give Feedback to Your Coworkers (with Real-Life Examples) (6)

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Real-life example

  • If you notice a coworker going above and beyond to get the job done, pull them aside and let them know their efforts are appreciated by the team.
  • If you notice a colleague has made changes to improve their performance, let them know those changes aren’t going unnoticed—and that you (and the rest of the team) can see the positive impact those changes are having.
  • If your colleague stays late to help you wrap up a project, thank them—and then loop in their manager to let them know how their efforts positively impacted your project.

Bottom line? If you’re the kind of person who delivers feedback whenever you notice a coworker doing something great, they’re going to be a lot more receptive when the time comes to deliver constructive feedback.

The better your relationship with your coworkers, the easier the feedback process will be

Delivering feedback to coworkers or peers can be a challenge. But with these tips, you can deliver feedback in a way that maintains and strengthens the relationship—which can make delivering feedback easier in the future.

“In the end, it comes down to building rapport with the people that you work with,” says Rouse. “Strong relationships that are built on comradery and mutual trust allow for more comfortable and accessible feedback conversations.”

FAQs

How do you give feedback to a coworker examples? ›

Positive feedback you can give

"I'm really happy with your determination to finish this project. I know it wasn't easy, but I knew you could do it. Your helpful attitude makes it clear that you can continue to take on new challenges and grow with the company. Thank you for your extra effort."

What are the 5 steps in providing effective feedback? ›

Use this five-step model to do just that:
  1. Ask for Permission. You would be surprised how much of a difference this makes. ...
  2. State What You Observed. Where possible, use specific examples and avoid being judgmental. ...
  3. Explain the Impact. ...
  4. Pause. ...
  5. Suggest Concrete Next Steps.
19 Jun 2020

How do you give and receive proper feedback as professional with real life examples? ›

Giving effective feedback
  1. Concentrate on the behaviour, not the person. One strategy is to open by stating the behaviour in question, then describing how you feel about it, and ending with what you want. ...
  2. Balance the content. ...
  3. Be specific. ...
  4. Be realistic. ...
  5. Own the feedback. ...
  6. Be timely. ...
  7. Offer continuing support.

How do I give feedback to my team members? ›

7 ways to give valuable and constructive feedback to employees
  1. Be problem-focused and specific. An important part of telling an employee what they could do better is to tell them why. ...
  2. Talk about the situation, not the individual. ...
  3. Give praise where it's due. ...
  4. Be direct but informal. ...
  5. Be sincere. ...
  6. Listen. ...
  7. Make it timely.

What are some examples of positive feedback to manager? ›

Here's a list of nice things you can say about your manager during a review:
  • 1. " ...
  • "I appreciate the clarity you provide for project tasks" ...
  • "You're very inspirational and give the team excellent motivation to achieve our goals" ...
  • "You're always in a positive mood, which encourages me to have a positive attitude"

What are some tips and strategies for giving constructive feedback? ›

Giving Constructive Feedback
  1. Establish Trust. ...
  2. Balance the Positive and the Negative. ...
  3. Observe, Don't Interpret. ...
  4. Be Specific. ...
  5. Talk Face-to-Face. ...
  6. Don't Make it Personal. ...
  7. Provide Feedback Consistently. ...
  8. Be Timely.

What is constructive feedback in the workplace? ›

What is constructive feedback? Constructive feedback is the type of feedback aimed at achieving a positive outcome by providing someone with comments, advice, or suggestions that are useful for their work or their future.

How do you create positive feedback at work? ›

Use these tips to get recognized:
  1. Meet with your boss regularly to outline your accomplishments. ...
  2. Mention how you'd like to be managed. ...
  3. Set an example of how you would like to be treated. ...
  4. Keep a kudos file. ...
  5. Look for a new job.

What is a real world example of feedback? ›

Fake feedback: “You make my job easy.” Real feedback: “Last week you noticed an invoice that didn't seem accurate. You researched the invoice and got the mistake corrected before I even knew there was a problem.

What are the best ways to receive feedback? ›

8 Ways To Receive Feedback And Turn Them Into Your Strengths
  1. Stop! ...
  2. Listen to what is being said and not how it's said. ...
  3. Ask questions about your feedback. ...
  4. Embrace the embarrassment. ...
  5. Attempt to make the improvements. ...
  6. Go out and get even more criticism. ...
  7. Look at the big picture. ...
  8. Thank people for their feedback.

What are three ways you can get feedback on your work performance? ›

8 Ways to Collect Employee Feedback
  • New employee surveys. An employee's first 90 days at a new job are critical for their overall engagement and satisfaction. ...
  • Employee engagement surveys. ...
  • Pulse surveys. ...
  • Stay interviews. ...
  • Review sites. ...
  • Managers. ...
  • Employee suggestion box. ...
  • Exit interviews.

How do you write good feedback example? ›

Here are some examples of specific praise you can use.
  1. This thesis statement is very clear. ...
  2. This paragraph is full of details. ...
  3. Your introduction really grabbed my attention. ...
  4. This transition word is perfect for shifting to the next main idea.
  5. I love how you wrapped up all the main points at the end.
2 Dec 2010

How do you give good feedback to peers? ›

How to Give Constructive Peer Feedback
  1. Prepare. Before you even say a word to your coworker, identify the goals of your conversation. ...
  2. Avoid the “Feedback Sandwich” ...
  3. Do It Early but Don't Catch Them Off Guard. ...
  4. Don't Attack or Insult. ...
  5. Be Clear. ...
  6. Be Specific. ...
  7. Don't Tell Them They're Wrong. ...
  8. Use Non-Judgmental Language.
10 Feb 2020

When giving feedback to a coworker it is important to? ›

Career Management - Objective 1.03 Activities (Flashcards, Matching & Concentration
AB
When giving feedback to a coworker, it is important to:offer positive and negative comments.
Which is an appropriate reaction to criticism?Understanding
The Family Medical Leave Act was designed to cover:males and females
37 more rows

Why is feedback important in workplace? ›

Both supervisors and peers may deliver feedback, and when done tactfully, the process can create a stronger, more harmonious workplace. Positive and negative feedback is important because it helps break bad habits, reinforces positive behavior, and enables teams to work more effectively toward their goals.

What are the 4 Tips for giving feedback? ›

All four of these things—intention, permission, skill, and relationship—are important to remember when giving feedback.

What are six components of constructive feedback? ›

Constructive Feedback: 6 Tips to Success
  • Be Specific. Identify the key areas and actions where the employee excelled or performed poorly. ...
  • Be Positive. Recognition is important! ...
  • Offer Autonomy. ...
  • Observation, not Inference. ...
  • Use Descriptive Language. ...
  • Avoid Feedback Overload.
15 Aug 2018

What is effective feedback? ›

Effective feedback is a way of giving input that can be positive (such as a compliment), negative (such as a corrective measure) or neutral (such as a general observation), but it is always useful to the receiver. It provides recipients with insight or suggestions that contribute to desired outcomes.

What is an example of providing positive feedback in communication? ›

Positive feedback

You're incredibly grateful, so you want to show your appreciation by complimenting them on their great work. Example of positive feedback: “Well done on that task! The result is great and it's impressive that you managed to get it over the line ahead of the deadline.

How do I process feedback at work? ›

How To Process Feedback Without The Emotion
  1. Keep an open mind about receiving feedback. ...
  2. Don't respond right away, take a few seconds to really process the feedback. ...
  3. Make sure you understand the feedback. ...
  4. Be humble and gracious! ...
  5. Don't let constructive criticism go in one ear and out the other.
18 Feb 2019

How would you describe a good co worker? ›

A good coworker is someone many employees enjoy working with. They are willing to help their team succeed and meet the company's goals. Likewise, a good coworker is pleasant to be around. They often have a positive attitude and treat their coworkers with respect.

How do you write a good feedback? ›

Refer to this four-part glossary to ensure you're giving great feedback.
  1. Be specific when describing the situation. When giving employee feedback, it's important to explain the situation you're addressing. ...
  2. Explicitly describe the behavior. ...
  3. Consider your "I" and "you" statements. ...
  4. Offer suggestions for improvement.
15 Jun 2021

What are 5 characteristics of a good employee? ›

Top qualities of a good employee
  • Reliability. Look for employees on whom you can count to arrive on time and finish their tasks. ...
  • Problem-solving skills. Valuable employees are driven to solve problems. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Conflict resolution. ...
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Willing to learn and ask questions.

How do you praise someone professionally examples? ›

Compliments on skills
  1. “You're a great communicator . ”
  2. “I really admire your work ethic.”
  3. “You're so organized. Can you give me some tips?”
  4. “You think about things in such a creative way. You help me think about problem-solving in a new way.”
  5. You handle stress so well. You help me keep work in perspective.”

What would your colleagues say are your best qualities? ›

Example answers
  • “My coworkers would describe me as an organized, thoughtful person who works well under pressure. ...
  • “My team knows me best for being a team-oriented leader. ...
  • “My colleagues have told me that they value my reliability, punctuality and analytical mindset.

How do you give constructive feedback examples? ›

Example of constructive feedback: "Helen, I always appreciate how productive and reliable you are, but I have noticed a change in your performance lately. Turning in assignments late is unlike you. I wanted to check in with you to discuss any challenges you have been facing and understand how I can support you better."

What are some examples of positive feedback to manager? ›

Here's a list of nice things you can say about your manager during a review:
  • 1. " ...
  • "I appreciate the clarity you provide for project tasks" ...
  • "You're very inspirational and give the team excellent motivation to achieve our goals" ...
  • "You're always in a positive mood, which encourages me to have a positive attitude"

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