How You Provide Constructive Feedback


As a supervisor you often give feedback, both consciously and unconsciously. It's not easy to do this in a good way, but it's essential for a good relationship with your staff. Every employee wants feedback, but at the same time doesn't want to be put in the corner. How do you provide constructive feedback?

You don't only give feedback at official moments such as performance reviews and appraisal interviews. Enough moments pass every year where you do this in the interim, both positive and negative. An employee would like confirmation after a good presentation, for example, but should also be called to account for his behavior if he is regularly late. That's why you read in this article why giving good feedback is important and how you do it.

Constructive feedback

You only give feedback on behavior that can be changed. Feedback is always constructive, you want to bring about a change in behavior. For example, you can tell an employee to stop stuttering, but stuttering isn't behavior. If someone makes a very loud phone call, then you can say something about this. If someone is dyslexic, you can get angry at his careless spelling, but that's not going to change. On the other hand, if the secretary submits an incomplete report of a meeting, you can hold that person accountable.

4G model for feedback

Giving feedback in a constructive way can be quite difficult for a manager. Don't mention every mistake, otherwise the employee will get the feeling that he can't do anything right. In addition, avoid generalities and the so-called you baking. Wrap the criticism in concrete examples and use the I form. A useful tool to provide constructive feedback is to use the model of the four Gs: Behavior, Effect, Feeling, and Desired.


You start by naming the behavior that you want to change. You don't do this by accusing someone, because then you get bogged down in a discussion. You only give your opinion about the behavior that you signal. If you tell someone that he is always late, his first reaction is: "How did you get that, I was on time yesterday." The person feels attacked and immediately defends. Therefore stick to the concrete facts and prevent the use of generalizing words such as 'always' and 'everywhere'. So not: "You always use the phone so loudly," but: "I think you have been making very loud calls in the last few weeks."


The employee's identified behavior has negative consequences for the functioning of others. To make these consequences clear, you need to make the other person aware of their behavior. Perhaps the employee doesn't understand at all what his behavior is causing. Also bring the message in the I form here. So not: 'I deliver bad work because of you', but: 'I notice that I can't concentrate well on my work. If I have to call myself at the same time, I don't understand the person well, which means I can't perform my work properly. "


After you have named the behavior and the consequences, you express your feeling that this results. Keep it to yourself again. "I get irritated by this" or: "I feel like you're not taking others into account when talking so loudly." And so not: "Your behavior is irritating" or: "You don't take others into account."


The final step is naming the behavior you want and here too you tell it in the I form. Not: "You have to stop the yelling," but: "I would like you to make less loud calls from now on. This ensures more peace in the department, so that I can concentrate better '.

Example of feedback

If you put all these comments one after the other, you get the following example of constructive feedback: "I think you have been making very loud calls in recent weeks. I notice that I can't concentrate well on my work because of that. If I have to call myself at the same time, I don't understand the person well, which means I can't perform my work properly. I notice that this makes me irritated. I would therefore like you to make less loud calls from now on. This provides more peace for the department, so that I can concentrate better. "

Employee behavior change

If the employee agrees with the feedback, you can look for the causes and the solutions. Perhaps the employee has problems with hearing or has a hot temper, which makes him talk louder and louder during the conversations. He may also just have a loud voice or not be used to taking others into account. Make it clear that you would like to help him and ask him to pay extra attention to this during his telephone conversations. If behavioral change proves impossible, you can always look for another solution together: "Perhaps we can look for a separate room where you can call."

Positive performance

Positive performance is soon found normal, but it's important to emphasize that as well. You can give positive feedback in the form of compliments ("You have written a good speech"), or more elaborately using the 4G model for feedback. "I see you have already finished the speech" (behavior). "A good story, nice" (feeling). "That saves me a lot of time" (consequence). "Could you write a speech again next week" (desired). Everyone likes to be appreciated. Positive feedback isn't only motivating, but it also gives employees more self-esteem.

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