Feedback: Giving and Receiving

By Taylor Burton Published on July 20, 2022

Estimated reading time: 5 Minutes

Feedback on our performance can be an important part of growth. Whether it's giving or receiving, it can be a delicate balancing act for all involved. It must be given carefully and received gracefully. Above all, remember that it is a necessary step in self improvement that should benefit everyone across the board.

Depending on where you fall on the corporate ladder, you may find yourself doing one of these more often than the other, but no matter--we've got you covered on both ends. Check out this advice on the best way to give and receive feedback.



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Giving Feedback

Constructive criticism. Any criticism you have to give should always be constructive! Constructive criticism is meant to build others up by offering suggestions or solutions. The alternative, destructive criticism, only serves to tear others down. You certainly do not want to tear down your employees or team. That will only lead to feelings of negativity and low morale. You want to boost your team's confidence and performance, not inhibit it.

If you're wondering how to approach the art of constructive criticism, Matter has a number of examples for you to learn from. Reading about situations you're likely to encounter in your work life may help you approach constructive criticism with care and awareness. Never use harsh or judgmental language that could lead to hurt feelings. 


Be specific. Clearly communicate what it is that your employee needs to improve on. Be specific with your words so that there is no confusion. Use examples, always be fair, and never come across as accusatory. Also, be prepared with a solution or a suggestion to the problem so your employee knows exactly what to do moving forward.


Your Feedback Matters placard with bokeh background


Speak from your perspective. When giving feedback, always speak in first person, starting your sentences with "I" instead of "you" to sound less aggressive. Talk about your observations when it comes to their work performance. If it's a written review, starting each sentence with the employee's name is a good way to go about it too.


Listen to their perspective. The giving and receiving of feedback is a two-way street. Leave the lines of communication open and allow the person who is receiving the feedback a moment to absorb this new information. Perhaps there is a specific reason their work performance is the way that it is. Perhaps they need something more from you! They should have the chance to speak their mind and ask questions if they so desire. Don't ever cut them off or steamroll them; make sure they feel seen and heard.


The "compliment sandwich." Have you heard of the compliment sandwich? It's a form of giving feedback in which you sandwich the criticism in between two slices of compliments. By opening with a positive statement and ending on a high note, you can keep morale high while slipping in some advice.


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Set goals. Have a plan in mind and suggest steps that your employee can take to improve themselves. You want to be sure that your employee is leaving this conversation with valuable knowledge. Create a timeframe to achieve these goals, set another meeting in the future, and evaluate their progress until the next one. This is the final step when it comes to successfully giving constructive feedback.


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Receiving Feedback

Put your pride aside. Easier said than done, but the best way to receive criticism is to be receptive and open. Acknowledge that this feedback is meant to help you grow and succeed at your job. Try not to get defensive and accept the advice that comes your way with an open mind. If you do get defensive, it could make others hesitant to approach you with advice, and ultimately hinder the team.

If you're not quite sure how to go about putting your pride aside, check out this article on LeadChange that details 6 ways to overcome your pride.


Ask questions. Your superior should provide you with clear feedback and examples. Do not be afraid to ask questions or request clarity if you feel you are not getting it. Keeping the lines of communication open is of vital importance. You may be the one on the receiving end of the feedback, but you still have a right to be heard.


Portrait of a man hiding his face behind a question mark against a white background


Reflect. There are many things to think about post-performance review. First of all, do you feel the judgment was fair? We all view one another through a different lens shaped by our life experiences. If you feel you've been judged unfairly, another conversation may need to be had. Moving on from there, did you find the feedback useful? Are there ways you can utilize it to improve your performance? Ponder the different ways you can apply it moving forward.


Set goals. No matter what position you're in, you should always have a plan and set goals for yourself. Create a timeframe and a series of steps that will help you improve your work so you can have an even better review next time.


Remember. Your self-worth is not attached to your work performance. None of us are perfect and a little bit of criticism coming your way does absolutely not make you a failure! It simply shows that you have room to grow, which is a good thing. Keep on climbing towards your full potential with the knowledge you've obtained! 


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Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!