Try to recall the last time you got valuable insight in a candid, supportive way.

Feedback isn't always a pleasant experience. But if you take the brave plunge, you can make a positive and meaningful impact to those around you. We've provided examples of the types of employee feedback, how to give and receive feedback, and tips on being candid.

Feedback Guide | Definition and Best Practices | Matter
Feedback is the process of giving or receiving suggestions about an individual’s performance from peers, managers, or leadership.

Feedback allows individuals to see and understand their blind spots, discover superpowers, and provide actionable ways to improve their professional skills. When delivered in a candid and direct way, feedback can be the most powerful tool when developing your skillset.

Check out TED speaker Dan Ariely. He discusses how feedback, while it can be hard to hear sometimes, can make us motivated to push ourselves at work.

Dan Ariely shares how we can feel good in the face of adversity and challenge at work and how to use feedback to get there. (Video from YouTube) 

What is positive feedback?

Positive feedback is a checkpoint that focuses on personal or professional strengths and accomplishments. When you provide positive feedback, you're telling your team members what they're excelling at in a way that's clear, concise, nonjudgemental, and candid.  You're helping them improve!

On the other hand, negative feedback focuses on mistakes and areas of improvement in a manner that may come off as accusatory or personal.

Too much criticism can decrease morale and make team members feel self-conscious about their ability to fulfill their roles. Finding the elusive balance of positive feedback and constructive criticism will lead to individuals feeling proud of their accomplishments while understanding and adjusting to their blind spots.

What are the different types of positive feedback?

Ever wonder why feedback feels different depending on who gives it and when? The same exact observation can be vocalized in many different way.

Giving feedback gets easier when you consistently practice it. Once you start to notice can-do attitudes, stronger teams, and boosts in productivity you'll understand why feedback is important in the workplace.

Reinforcement vs. redirection

When we think about giving someone feedback, we often think of it in terms of positive or negative. However, there’s a new way to think about this distinction: reinforcing or redirecting.

Reinforcing feedback means that we want someone to keep doing a certain positive behavior. When giving this type of feedback, we’re reinforcing and celebrating those actions.

While providing negative feedback conveys to the receiver to stop doing a certain action. With redirecting feedback, we’re telling the person to stop doing X and instead focus on doing Y. See the redirect? The more specific you are with your redirecting feedback, the better.

Joe Hirsch talks about the joy of getting feedback, good and bad. (Video from YouTube)

Examples of reinforcement

We can help our coworkers and team get even better at something they do well when we reinforce. This type of feedback celebrates and rewards those actions.

  • "You did a great job on this part of the project... because..."
  • “I think you did great when you… it showed that you …”
  • “I would love to see you do even more of this because...”

Examples of redirection

We can save our coworkers and team valuable time when we provide valuable feedback in the form of redirection. This helps everyone align their efforts and be more productive.

  • "Let's switch this with..."
  • “I notice you do this when...maybe try this alternative instead?”
  • "I agree with your intent. Why don't we try to do this instead to get a clearer message across..."

Start proactively asking for feedback

The best and quickest way to get feedback is to just ask. Here are 3 ways to ask simple and open-ended questions to get the feedback you deserve.

  • Can you find some areas of improvement?
  • Can you tell me how you felt about that? How would you do this?
  • What did you like about my project/presentation? What could I have done better?

It's time to get started

Don't wait for feedback. Go out and get it. Schedule feedback sessions, message team members after a presentation, participate in #FeedbackFriday. Giving and receiving feedback gets easier when you consistently practice it. Once you start to notice boosts in productivity and collaboration you'll understand why feedback is important in the workplace.


Matter: The Future of Feedback

Matter is trusted by thousands of professionals to gather 360-degree feedback on over 30+ professional skills. Feel confident at work, get feedback on your own terms, and grow skills that matter. Amazing feedback starts with Matter (pst, it's also free forever!).

Cover Photo by Marina Verdú