One of the core skills of a great leader is the ability to provide constructive employee feedback in a way that is clear, concise and well received. Too often messages are either vague and unclear or delivered as an emotional blow to an employee’s ego. One way to ensure that your employee feedback is going to lead to change, and not have a negative impact on your relationship, is to have a roadmap for approaching feedback.

    As a leadership coach, I have been using a 9-step model, and sharing it with coaching clients, for many years. Reports back are that the approach removes the hesitation to providing feedback and helps leaders avoid blaming employees.


    Giving Constructive Employee Feedback

    1. Describe the behaviour you observed: “You missed the meeting we had scheduled this morning.”
    2. Solicit input: “What happened?
    3. Share your feelings about the behaviour: “I’m disappointed because…
    4. Tell why you feel that way, your thoughts or judgments: “… it makes me think that you don’t give my project much priority.”
    5. Share the impact: “Without your input, we could make a big mistake on our program requirements.”
    6. Ask for what you need: “I need you to attend these meetings and give your input.”
    7. Show support and solicit solutions: “Is there anything I can do to help?”
    8. Get a commitment: “So, you’ll be there for our meeting next Monday?”
    9. End on a positive: “I’m glad we had a chance to talk about this. We really need your experience to win this one.”

    Try it out. Practice it. You don’t need to use all the steps all the time. In fact, steps 3 and 4 should only be used if you have strong feelings that will get in the way of the relationship if not shared. Over time, you’ll master the skill and become a magnet for top talent who want to work with leaders committed to their development and growth.


    This article was published more than 1 year ago. Some information may no longer be current.