5 Tips on How to Give Feedback

Written by Horng Yuan | Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

Most people are eager to find out how they are doing. Companies would like to know consumers’ approval of their products and services. App developers would like to know users’ ratings and reviews of their apps. Public speakers would like to know the audience’s reception to their speeches and presentations. Trainers, coaches, and mentors would like to know the effectiveness and efficiency of their sessions.

Why Do You and Your Organisation Need Feedback?

Feedback enables you and your organisation to compare your actual performance with a given expectation or standard. Feedback involves providing information and data that others can use to evaluate and improve behaviours, sharing your perceptions and feelings in a non-judgemental manner, and assisting in performance improvement. Feedback is crucial for personal growth, career advancement, and job satisfaction.

We have recently talked about how to seek and act on feedback; you can read the post here.

The benefits of giving and getting feedback are many; listed below are a few of them.

- ensure goals and objectives are met by individuals in organisations

- reinforce effective and positive actions and behaviours

- provide corrections to problematic or ineffective behaviours

- reinforce individuals’ strengths and build up confidence and competence

- identify areas in need of improvement and suggest assistance

- create self-awareness and help understand blind spots and weaknesses

5 Tips on Giving Feedback

It is part and parcel for leaders, employers, managers, coaches, and mentors to give feedback to the people they are accountable for. The following are 5 tips to prepare for and lead feedback sessions.

1. Check your motives

Evaluate why you need to give feedback and what you expect or hope to achieve. You should not be giving feedback simply because you want to or need to get something “off your chest”. In fact, there are a few important things for you to first consider and assess prior to speaking your mind, such as your relationship with the intended recipient, the strength of the relationship, any competitive pressure that can impact the situation, and the credibility of both parties. By all means, go ahead if you truly understand your reasons, and that your feedback will be constructive and bring personal and organisational growths.

2. Script what you want to say

Preparing a script helps you identify in advance the situation that will be discussed and determine the way you intend to approach the situation; the script will provide an outline and serve to guide you through the feedback session. As you write, you can clarify your thoughts and think through possible responses. You can prevent yourself from going into unknown or unexpected areas, and reduce discomfort or uneasiness.

3. Ask for input

It is important to get the recipient’s perspective on and opinion about the matter or situation discussed. In doing so, you encourage two-way communication and a dialogue. You enable the recipient to examine his or her own perspectives, and at the same time allow yourself to compare and confirm information and perceptions, and to see if the situation is completely understood. When given the opportunity to express and share, the recipient will feel he or she is part of the process and organisation; the feeling of rejection, isolation, or being victimised can be avoided.

4. Offer assistance and support

It would be great if you can provide appropriate assistance and support. For instance, offer to meet up with the recipient periodically to check on his or her progress, recommend available internal or external resources, or provide coaching and mentoring. Be as supportive as you can to the recipient as a person. Suggest and emphasise on joint effort in solving any problems or challenges. This can minimise the recipient’s defensiveness and resistance to your feedback and suggestions.

5. Set expectations and specific next steps

It is a good practice to ask the recipient for feedback on your feedback. You will be able to find out if you have made your expectations clear, provided sufficient information, resources, and options for improvement, and understood the other party. To move forward, you should determine specific next steps or actions for the recipient; this is to ensure positive change and results take place after the feedback sessions. You can coach on goal setting, crafting vision, setting priorities, and simplifying complexities. Follow up with the recipient regularly.


Feedback is important for personal development, career growth, and organisational expansion. As a leader, it is expected of you to provide feedback and assist individuals under your care to excel and achieve results. Apply the above 5 tips and see yourself grow to becoming a better leader!