The art of giving feedback


To become an effective leader you need to be skilled in both giving praise and criticism. While praise is generally easier to give it can be far more challenging for managers to offer negative feedback to a colleague or member of their team.


The reasons for giving negative feedback are simple, if someone doesn’t know they are doing something wrong they cannot do anything about it. Let’s also assume that not everyone comes to work to do a ‘bad’ job and work tirelessly in completely the wrong direction. If you did a bad job every day, wouldn’t you want to know?


Assuming you would, how would you like the feedback to be offered?


  • In a timely fashion and not stock piled over the last few weeks / months?
  • Specific examples given of the work that a manager has observed?
  • Spoken to and treat like an adult?
  • Be given an opportunity to explain why you have done something that way?
  • Given strategies for improving and avoiding future problems?
  • A feeling that your manager is being genuine with you?
  • Feel comfortable to enough to raise other associated concerns you may have?


I think if we are honest it is a yes to all of the above, which then leaves us with a different challenge. How many managers / leaders have been given the training and development required to provide well balanced, timely feedback that results in a positive and progressive result? How many managers have the essential communication skills to sit with staff and ask non-judgmental questions that don’t automatically point the finger?


At every step of an employee lifecycle there are opportunities to offer well-structured and objective feedback. From progress made in an induction, daily task delegation, performance management, team meetings, development conversations and many more.


At Maguire we believe the communication and feedback skills of a manager are essential skills in effectively motivating and getting the best out of others. The links below offer a few suggested learning opportunities that will allow you to develop a confident and proactive approach to giving feedback.






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