Giving and receiving constructive feedback

Giving and receiving constructive feedback

Having difficult conversations and giving negative feedbacks, I like to call them improvement feedbacks is not easy, it is not for anyone. We all tend to want to have peaceful and smooth relationships and want to avoid conflict as much as possible.

Here are a few elements that will help you provide improvement feedbacks to your manager:

  1. Building a deep and meaningful relationship on the long term means having disagreements, miscommunications and misunderstandings. A perfect relationship where people would always be in perfect synch and harmony does not exist and will never the fact that you have improvement feedback to give your boss means you care for the relationship and hope that some things can get better in the way you work and communicate. This first point is really important as it takes off the “guilt” that one could feel when they have to give improvement feedbacks. Giving someone improvement feedbacks does not mean that you will create a conflict!!! We often don’t give other people enough credit to their capacity to take feedback in a good way.

The secret is to give it in a way that will be respectful to your needs but also to the needs of the person receiving the feedback

  1. Remember the spirit of a feedback is not to undermine the person, to challenge their value as a person but rather to keep good processes and evacuate bad processes at work. You are giving a feedback on something a person has done or not done, not on the person themselves. See the difference? it changes the way the feedback will be received.
  2. Following the following methodology to provide your feedback will help you gain in assertiveness:
  3. Ask the person if they have a moment to talk (in your case may not be necessary since I understand a meeting is planned)
  4. Take the person to a private office or confidential place (not in front of everyone in a open space for ex) so they are not uncomfortable and worried about other people hearing
  5. Use the SOCAR technique to give your feedback:

Specific Observation (of facts):

Describe the facts as specifically as possible as they are without any judgment, opinions or emotions. Avoid “always” “never” avoid accusations which would put the person in a defensive state

Example: Last Monday when I came into your office to ask about the XXX account, you told me you didn’t have time and did not tell me when you would be able to talk to me. The same thing happened after the team meeting on Tuesday and yesterday at the coffee machine.


Do’s: Can be factual: “I sent the email without you checking” Can be emotional: “it made be stress”

Don’ts No opinions / no judgements: “It’s not a way to work”, “you are not responsible” I had to send my proposal yesterday without having been able to talk to you about the interrogations I had. It made me stress and the proposal got out without your input which could be damaging to this account

Alternative proposed:

What could be done differently next time? Next time you are very busy, I think it would be great if you could find some slots in your agenda so that I can ask all of my questions. Even if it is a very short slot, at least I can address some interrogations

Results expected:

For the efficiency at work. That way, we can communicate and work better as a team and be more efficient for our clients

Go from S to R in one shot, try not to get interrupted so that you don’t get stopped or diverted from what you have to say

At the end, when you have done your feedback SOCAR, open the discussion by asking the person what they think.

Let them talk without interrupting

Ask open questions if you need to ask questions: What could you do to change that? How could we work on this issue?

Leave silence when you feel like the person is still thinking and is not done talking.

This should lead to the person understanding your message and to building a win-win solution.