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by Brenda C. Smith
Have you been asked to repeat yourself, to speak up, or to be talked over at meetings? The sound of your voice can be enhanced so your listeners are not only …

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Characteristics of Good Constructive Feedback

by Laurie Wilhelm

We often confuse feedback with criticism – probably because much of our experience with it has had more to do with what we’ve done wrong than what we’ve done right or how we could do better. This is unfortunate. Feedback should not be viewed as a personal assault or a list of errors, mistakes, or mishaps.

While the content of the feedback can be negative, its delivery can always be constructive. If it’s not, the feedback will not be accepted or be received as an insult, which can ignite other issues and problems. How feedback is communicated is based on an individual’s communication skills. Are these essential interpersonal skills good or poor?

Constructive feedback is the most useful and beneficial to the receiver because it provides encouragement, support, corrective measures and direction.


Give useful feedback by improving your communciations skills.


Definition of Feedback

The definition of feedback in organizations and business is ongoing, open two-way communication between two or more parties. Typically, feedback is given in annual performance reviews, but the best feedback is timely, honest, and provides useful comments and suggestions that contribute to a positive outcome, a better process or improved behaviours.

When delivered in a positive, constructive way, you can communicate something negative without offending or putting the other person on the defensive. At the same time, you help solve the problem, change behaviour and work towards established goals. The degree to which you’re successful at this will indicate how good your interpersonal skills are.

What are the Characteristics of Good Constructive Feedback?

Good constructive feedback is

  • given with the goal of improvement
  • timely
  • honest
  • respectful
  • clear
  • issue-specific
  • objective
  • supportive
  • motivating
  • action-oriented
  • solution-oriented.

On the Other Hand, What is Destructive Feedback?

Destructive feedback is

  • unhelpful
  • accusatory
  • personal
  • judgmental
  • subjective.

It also

  • undermines the self-esteem of the receiver
  • leaves the issue unresolved
  • the receiver is unsure how to proceed.

Why is it Important to Give?

To improve. The importance of feedback in an organization is crucial to its ongoing development and growth. In the competitive environment that businesses operate constructive feedback is essential for continuous improvement.

Employers need to give effective, constructive feedback regularly, which is what most employees want. What employees look for in feedback from employers includes positive reinforcement and acknowledgment for a job well done as well as ideas or instructions on doing their jobs better.

Learning how to give good feedback is a learned communication skill and one that can be achieved through thought and planning.

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