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  • Have you avoided giving feedback fearing you will hurt someone’s feelings?
  • Do you want to get better at giving honest constructive feedback?
  • Should you give feedback the way you like to receive it or the manner in which it is best received by the person to whom you are speaking? 

I recommend the latter. Giving feedback empathetically is most effective. It requires us to see through the eyes, hear through the ears, and feel the world as others feel it.

Organizations often assume managers know how to give effective feedback, which is seldom the case. I have worked in the public and private sectors. I have noticed that most managers are uncomfortable giving feedback. They avoid or delay providing feedback, constructive or otherwise, yet want their employees to meet their expectations. Giving feedback is emotional. The manager can be a bit uneasy so they might have difficulty helping the employee feel relaxed and comfortable while giving feedback. The more a manager likes his or her employees the harder it can be to give constructive feedback especially if employee performance is not up to par. Employees are left with the impression that they are doing excellent work because managers give them excellent scores on appraisals when their performance is fair. This is what I call the performance appraisal trap. Managers like their employees so they inflate the scores but end up stunting employees’ growth and department productivity. New or inexperienced managers are more susceptible to the trap.

However, all is not lost. Don’t wait for the performance appraisal conference to start giving constructive empathetic feedback to keep your employees on track. Now that you know what to do Ivan Andreev, Demand Generation & Capture Strategist, provides a variety of examples of how to do it in his constructive feedback articles. Here is an example of communication.

Positive example: Thank you for informing me of the project’s progress. It’s allowed me to keep my supervisors up-to-date with our department. Everyone is excited to see the project enter the final phase. I am impressed by your dedication to the team. I look forward to seeing more from you.

Constructive example: You haven’t been keeping me well-informed about your project. I don’t know what’s going on and I’d like to see more communication from you. Can we arrange to have a 10-minute call every Friday to get progress updates?

Negative example: Did anyone ever teach you how to communicate? The team needs to know what’s going on. This is completely unacceptable.

In addition, always choose the right time and place for feedback, but as soon as practicable after an event that needs to be addressed. Improve your leadership skills and employee performance by giving timely empathetic feedback.

 What will you do to make your workplace better? If you would like to discuss the possibilities contact me at or visit my website: