How to Give Constructive Feedback

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Learning to give and receive constructive feedback is an essential part of learning, growing, improving and achieving our goals.


No one likes being criticised. The word itself evokes fear and defensiveness. However, learning to give and receive constructive feedback is an essential part of learning, growing, improving and achieving our goals. Feedback and criticism can be constructive Ė when itís intended to help you; or destructive Ė when itís designed to be harmful or hurtful, and the difference is vast.


Receiving constructive feedback

Here are some tips for receiving feedback that can be constructive for yourself and your career progression.

         Take an emotional step back and try to be objective. The feedback is not intended to hurt, itís there to help and we all have areas we need to improve. Being objective about the feedback will help you absorb it and learn from it.

         Really listen to the feedback. Itís easy to fall into the trap of hearing what we want to hear or letting our thoughts jump straight to how we are going to respond or defend ourselves. Take a breath and really listen to what is being said.

         Resist the urge to defend. This is a natural reaction and a hard one to resist. Again, remember this is about improving, so resisting it means youíll miss a valuable learning experience.

         Assess the feedback. Do you think it is fair and reasonable? If so, then itís time to start planning how to address the feedback and improve. You can ask the person giving the feedback to help you improve, or to keep giving you feedback to track your improvement. If it is not fair and reasonable, i.e. itís a personal attack, then as hard as it is, try not to dwell on it. Address any personal relationship issues you have with the person that may have led to such feedback.

         Finally, whether you agree with the feedback or not, thank the person for his or her time and for being helpful to you.


Delivering constructive feedback

Being on the receiving end of criticism can be difficult, but it can be just as difficult for the person giving it. Here are some tips for giving constructive feedback to others.

         Plan your feedback. What are you going to say and how are you going to say it? Write it down and read it again later to make sure the message is coming across clearly and constructively. Ensure itís not a personal attack and there are clear examples to illustrate the points you are making.

         Donít give the feedback publically. Book a meeting room or go for a coffee. Itís best to do this face to face as anything in writing can get lost in translation. But if doing this in writing (e.g. for Performance Reviews), again ensure you read it before sending it.

         Ensure the feedback is framed in a positive light. Highlight the benefits of improving. Also start with a positive and acknowledge something positive they have done.

         Show respect to the receiver. Put yourself in their shoes. Donít judge their reaction as it may be hard for them. Let them get upset or take a moment before responding. Thank them for listening at the end and encourage them to give you feedback as well.


Think positive!


The more feedback a team can give to each other, the better. You can use a proper feedback tool as part of a regular performance review process, but you can also give feedback informally to your colleagues outside of formal review points.

In the end, think always positive!




 Related Content
A flexible Default Value for your DateTime properties
When creating an MVC application with Entity Framework, it is possible to set default values for most properties in a model using the DefaultValue attribute. However, no much flexibility is offered for a DateTime property. This article presents a custom validation attribute for DateTime types that accepts different formats for defining the default value of the property.
Adding a Secured Geo-located Audit Trail
How I built a social sharing component for my own web site and added a secured geo-located audit trail. Step by step, letís analyse technologies and source code for developing this component.
Adding Social Sharing to a Web Site
How I built a social sharing component for my own web site and added a secured geo-located audit trail. Step by step, letís analyse technologies and source code for developing this component.
Best practices for mobile form design in SharePoint
Build effective SharePoint forms with Nintex that are accessible anywhere, at any time, and on any device. You built the workflows, you built the forms, now make them mobile.
Bring your ďAĒ game to ESPC16
With just over 3 weeks to go to Europe's largest gathering of SharePoint & Office 365 professionals, take a look at these tips that will help you get the most out of ESPC16Ö
Building an MVC application for SharePoint
Learn how to write code to perform basic operations with the SharePoint 2013 .NET Framework client-side object model (CSOM), and build an ASP.NET MVC application that retrieves information from a SharePoint server.
What are the synergies and differences of the roles of a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Technology Officer? An open conversation about two roles with one missionÖ
Coded UI test automation of MVC applications with Visual Studio
Whether you are a software developer, tester, administrator or analyst, this article can help you master different types of UI testing of an MVC application, by using Visual Studio for creating coded UI test suites that can be automated for continuous execution.
Converting GIS spatial coordinates
Different formats and standards exist for describing geographical coordinates in GIS systems and applications. This article explains how to convert between the most used formats, presenting a working library written in C#.
Creating mobile accessible forms in SharePoint
With the release of the Nintex Mobile apps, SharePoint users can now optimise their experience across popular mobile devices and platforms.
Define your Performance Testing strategy with Visual Studio
Performance Testing is an essential part of software testing, with the specific goal of determining how a system performs in terms of responsiveness and stability under a particular workload. In this series of posts weíll define and execute a good strategy for testing performance of an application using Visual Studio.
Disserting about colliding GUIDs and the Big Bang Theory
Can you generate two identical GUIDs? Would the world end if two GUIDs collide? How long does it take to generate a duplicate GUID and would we be still here when the result is found?
GIS Location Services in Dynamics CRM
A design paper about implementing GIS-based services for a local Council in Dynamics CRM, structuring address data, and delivering location services in the form of WebAPI endpoints via an Enterprise Service Bus.
Group or Team?
All teams are groups but not all groups are teams. What defines a group and what a team? When do we need one over the other one?
Mirroring an iPad on your laptop
Have you ever wanted to see your iPhone or iPad on a larger screen? Play games, watch movies, demo apps or present to your computer from your iPhone or iPad. Reflector mirrors iOS devices on big screens wirelessly using iOS built-in AirPlay mirroring.
Mobilize your SharePoint workflows
Build workflow applications in SharePoint that can be accessed on mobile devices using the Nintex solution for business process mobilization.
Natural String Sorting
Have you ever desired to have in your code a way to order a sequence of strings in the same way as Windows does for files whose name contains a mix of letters and numbers? Natural string sorting is not natively supported in .NET but can be easily implemented by specialising a string comparer and adding a few extensions to the enumerable string collection.
Sales Effectiveness in Dynamics CRM with Azure IoT and Machine Learning - Part 1
How can an organisation optimise its sales channels and product targeting by building a 365-degree view of its customers in Dynamics CRM? The answer, and topic of this article, is with the help of Azure IoT and Machine Learning services!
Scaling Applications with Azure Redis and Machine Learning - Part 1
This article presents design best practices and code examples for implementing the Azure Redis Cache and tuning the performance of ASP.NET MVC applications, optimising cache hit ratio and reducing ďmiss rateĒ with smart algorithms processed by Machine Learning.
Software Development Management in 11 steps
What it takes to be a great Software Development Manager? I have been building software for the last 15 years and have collected a few stories and experiences to share. Some I have used as questions when interviewing candidates. In 11 points, this is my story to date.
SOLID SharePoint apps with MVC
Practical code examples of ASP.NET MVC applications that connect to a SharePoint Server and comply with the SOLID principles.
The art of outsourcing projects
Outsourcing may look financially attractive, but working with companies in far-off lands introduces challenges that, if not considered properly, can drive any project to failure. Letís explore some common pitfalls when working with offshore partners and a common-sense approach to work around them.
The value of hashtags
Customers expect a modern approach to advertising. Digital advertising can leverage evolving technology to provide just-in-time, just-at-the-right-place promotions.
We don't need no Yoda's syntax
There is an urban myth in the programmersí community that the so called ďYodaís syntaxĒ performs better when checking an object for nullity. Let's demystify it...