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Performance & Feedback

20 meaningful constructive feedback examples for a positive work environment

Leapsome Team
20 meaningful constructive feedback examples for a positive work environment
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It’s no exaggeration to say that feedback is like fuel for ambitious organizations. It empowers team members to exchange their ideas and perspectives, pursue continuous learning and growth, and develop as professionals. 

It’s also worth noting that people like feedback — research shows that employees who receive feedback regularly are 3.2x more motivated to do outstanding work and feel 2.7x more engaged.* That means they’re better positioned to do their best and get the best possible results for their organizations.

However, the term ‘feedback’ encompasses a lot of nuances. Managers and team leads need to be mindful and international about the way they share their perspectives with reports to deliver positive, constructive feedback.

This article will explore what constructive feedback is and why it’s such a critical skill for managers and leaders to develop. We’ve also included 20 examples of giving feedback you can use for inspiration.

*Gallup, 2023

💪 Give employees the feedback they want!

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What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is feedback that is meant to help someone improve and attain a positive outcome. Constructive feedback is empathetic, supportive, collaborative, and encourages professional growth and development. It’s different from more traditional constructive criticism for employees as it’s less centered on what the individual didn’t do correctly. Instead, it points out areas of growth while focusing on coming up with actionable ways to improve moving forward.

Constructive feedback isn’t a one-off — it should be a continuous process that permeates through all levels of an organization. That way, over time, it can turn into a healthy, successful feedback culture where team members feel comfortable and motivated to check in with each other and discuss their performance. This is not only important to create a strong company culture, but it’s also key to unlock your potential. Indeed, a feedback culture is one of the most important drivers of positive organizational and financial outcomes.

Let’s consider a quick example of constructive feedback. Imagine that you’re a manager, and you’ve noticed that a new team member who joined the organization three months ago is struggling. They’re handing in work late, and it isn’t up to internal standards. They also seem hesitant to ask questions or speak in meetings. 

Rather than meeting with them and listing all the ways they’ve misstepped, you might consider organizing a quick 1:1 check-in and saying something like: “I’m so happy to have you as a team member, but I’ve noticed you’re having a hard time with your current work. Is there anything I can do to help you? Would you be interested in getting together weekly for some regular guidance to help you get the hang of your tasks?” 

Instead of focusing on the negative, that’s a great developmental feedback example that hears the employee out and gives them a clear path for improvement.

💡 Did you know that work environment has a significant impact on how likely employees are to act on the feedback they receive? 

According to Lisa Steelman, PhD for the American Psychological Association, “We found that leaders in a supportive environment for feedback had much better performance improvement over time than those in the unsupportive feedback environment… This shows that feedback does not happen in a vacuum, and we need to set the stage by creating a ­growth-oriented environment.” 

So, while sharing constructive feedback for colleagues is important, it’s just as essential to develop a sustainable feedback culture over time. Many companies also find it helpful to use employee feedback tools to boost engagement and nurture their feedback culture

Why is constructive feedback an essential skill for managers?

A screenshot of an interface from Leapsome Instant Feedback showing how users can leverage AI to share feedback.

If you need help sharing constructive feedback, Leapsome
Instant Feedback can help you by leveraging AI to help you come up with ideas

One of the most important parts of a manager’s job is providing frequent, impactful feedback. They’re ultimately responsible for guiding and supporting their reports and making sure they have everything they need to develop and thrive in their roles. Exchanging useful feedback is a huge part of that process.

However, many modern professionals don’t feel like they’re getting enough of it — our 2023 report found that 75% of workers want more feedback and recognition from their managers. So, this is an area where team leads need to focus their attention in order to build team members’ satisfaction and engagement while getting them to perform at their best.

The skill of sharing constructive feedback is especially important for managers as it focuses on growth and improvement. Effective team leads shouldn’t center their attention on what team members do wrong. Rather, they should take inspiration from developmental feedback examples and put all their energy into helping their team members avoid mistakes in the future and become better professionals overall.

💡 If you’re a new manager and want help delivering effective feedback, check out our guide for giving feedback in five steps.

20 effective feedback examples for different professional contexts

Regardless of whether you work in a leadership, managerial, or individual contributor position within your organization, you'll be faced with a variety of different situations where you need to share improvement feedback throughout your career.

To help you practice giving constructive feedback for employees in a wide range of contexts, we’ve come up with 20 specific feedback examples. That way, when you find yourself in similar situations, you can consult these examples of effective feedback as inspiration and tweak them to suit your needs.

💡 Are you new to sharing constructive employee feedback and aren’t sure how to get started?

We’ve got a useful playbook that can teach you exactly how to write constructive feedback. It’s complete with constructive employee feedback examples, as well as a step-by-step guide.

Constructive feedback examples about goals & objectives

A screenshot of an interface that shows a team member's personal goals within Leapsome Goals.
Team members can easily create action steps and monitor progress toward their big-picture objectives with Leapsome Goals

Imagine: A professional named Juan works on the sales team of a quickly growing tech start-up. He’s a go-getter who’s enthusiastic and hardworking, but he often sets overly ambitious targets for himself. As a result, he’s made very little progress toward his goals during the year he’s spent with the company so far.

Let’s consider a few ways his manager might give him some good constructive feedback and feedback for improvement.

Example 1

Juan, I’d like to talk to you about your approach to goal-setting. I love that you set challenging, ambitious goals for yourself, but it seems like you need some support achieving them. Have you considered using goal-setting software to break down your bigger objectives into more manageable chunks? Let’s set up a quick meeting next week, and I’ll help you get started.

Example 2

Juan, I was wondering how you feel about the fact that you haven’t made much progress toward your sales targets this year. You’re a motivated, hardworking team member, and I feel confident that you could reach your goals with a more intentional approach. Why don’t we get a few different sales employees together and brainstorm different strategies other team members are implementing to attain their targets?

Example 3

Juan, you’ve set some fantastic, ambitious goals for yourself this year. However, I’ve noticed that you haven’t made much progress toward them. Are you familiar with different goal-setting methodologies, like SMART goals and objectives and key results (OKRs)? It might be interesting for you to learn more about them. They may help you break down your objectives into smaller chunks, which will help you advance more meaningfully.

🌟 Want to give more effective, meaningful feedback?

Our easy-to-follow guide will empower you to consistently share high-quality, actionable feedback.

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Constructive leadership feedback examples

In this example, Martha is a long-time employee who got promoted from marketing team member to head of marketing a few months ago. She has the hard skills she needs to succeed, but she’s having trouble settling into her role. In particular, she struggles to delegate work to her reports and take initiative when she needs to make difficult decisions.

Another team member in a leadership position might consider these improvement feedback examples:

Example 1

It seems like you might be having some trouble getting used to your new leadership role, Martha. I completely understand because I faced the same issues when I was newly promoted to being the head of a department. This leadership skills course helped me a lot. Perhaps you’d be interested in signing up?

Example 2

How are you doing in the first few months of your new position, Martha? I know it can be tricky to adapt to being in a leadership position at first. Is there anything I can do to support you in the transition? It might be beneficial for you to have a meeting with your team and openly brainstorm ideas for how to best run the team. I know it was for me!

Constructive employee feedback examples for improvement

Setting the scene for the next example, John is a project manager who’s recently started working on some new accounts. He’s having trouble adapting to the new workflows and systems but hasn’t spoken up about his issues. He’s difficult to get in contact with on Slack or via email. At this point, the problems have been going on for several weeks, and both the client and other team members are getting frustrated.

John’s manager might consult these growth feedback examples and give him some constructive advice:

Example 1

John, I’m concerned that you seem to be having some issues managing [x account] and [x account]. Both the client and other team members have brought [x problems] to my attention. You normally do great work, so I’d like to get to the bottom of this. What support can I provide you with so you can perform at your best for these accounts?

Example 2

Hi John, how is everything going with [x account] and [x account]? Both the client and other team members have flagged a few issues they’ve been having since you started working on those projects. I know it can be difficult to adapt to new client processes and workflows. Would it be beneficial if we had weekly meetings so I can support you in this transition?

Constructive feedback examples about learning & development

Leapsome Learning ensures team members can develop the skills they need when they need them with custom Learning Paths

Consider the following scenario: Adam is a content marketer who works as part of a larger marketing team. It’s become clear to his team lead that he has some skills gaps. He’s very strong with editorial work, but he doesn’t have much knowledge of strategy. The projects he’s working on require these skills more and more, and not having them is holding him back from potential growth and promotion.

Adam’s team lead could emulate something similar to these development feedback examples:

Example 1

Adam, you’re an invaluable asset to this team. Your editorial work is so strong that it rarely requires any edits. However, I think you need to close the skills gaps in terms of strategy to develop further as a professional. Let’s research some potential strategy certifications you could pursue together and meet next week to discuss our findings.

Example 2

Adam, you’ve done some great work on our recent projects. However, it has also made me realize that our team could benefit from you having stronger content strategy knowledge. I was thinking about pairing you up with someone from our strategy team for some mentorship and coaching sessions. Would you be open to that?

👀 Looking for high-quality learning and development content?

Leapsome’s Learning Marketplace has a curated content library with training courses from providers like Ethena, Lawpilots, and GoodHabitz.

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Constructive feedback examples for employees about communication skills

In this example, Alex is a customer service representative for a software company. Although she does well in her role, she struggles to communicate in stressful, high-pressure situations. This has started to affect her performance at work when she encounters unhappy customers.

Alex’s team lead could reference these supportive feedback examples:

Example 1

Alex, you’re a great team member, and I want to make sure you feel comfortable and happy at work. I see that you’ve had some difficulties handling unhappy customers lately, and that has caused you some stress. How would you feel about shadowing me one day per week during this quarter? I’d be happy to show you how I use different communication tactics when dealing with customers in different situations.

Example 2

Alex, I’ve noticed that you’ve had some issues dealing with tricky customer tickets lately. I understand how you feel. It’s stressful talking to customers when their emotions are running high. When I started out as a customer service representative, I took a communication skills workshop that helped me a lot. Would you find it helpful if I send you some information on the course?

Constructive feedback examples about teamwork

Let’s consider a different scene: An operations team lead named Emma is one of the company’s top performers. She’s highly skilled and knowledgeable about her industry. However, she struggles to work collaboratively with her colleagues and hasn’t built much rapport with her reports over time. She often makes big decisions unilaterally without consulting others or considering their input, which has led to decreased team morale, engagement, and satisfaction.

There are several examples of constructive feedback that might be appropriate for Emma:

Example 1

Emma, you’re one of the organization’s most valuable employees. However, since you’re in a leadership position, it’s not only important that you excel at your work. It’s just as critical that you contribute to a great work environment by prioritizing working together and collective decision-making. I think it might be interesting for you to take a collaboration skills course later this month. What do you think?

Example 2

Emma, you’re great at your job. I know it can be difficult to balance getting things done while also prioritizing your rapport with other team members. However, your team’s morale and engagement are currently suffering. I came across a professional development exercise where you discover your management style and learn how to work with your strengths and weaknesses as a professional. Would you be open to taking it?

Enrich your feedback culture & empower managers with Leapsome

A screenshot of example feedback within Leapsome's Instant Feedback module.
With Leapsome Instant Feedback, colleagues can send out personalized feedback that team members can add to and engage with

All modern organizations should make sure that constructive feedback is a regular aspect of their day-to-day operations. It empowers employees to grow and improve as professionals, allows managers to make the best use of their positions to drive great results, and even benefits overall company culture and success.

While it’s relatively simple for team leads to consult constructive, actionable feedback examples and learn to integrate them over time, it can be challenging to make them a permanent facet of company culture. Using people enablement software like Leapsome makes it simple to integrate constructive feedback into your regular ways of working and make sure it never gets overlooked.

Leapsome Instant Feedback enables team members to tie their pieces of feedback to professional competencies and company values. It also integrates with our Reviews and Meetings modules, so feedback will always be front and center in development discussions and check-ins. In addition, Leapsome Goals and Learning go hand-in-hand with constructive feedback as they allow managers and team members to keep track of collaborative objectives and pursue targeted development opportunities as needed.

Constructive feedback is dynamic — but so is Leapsome. Our holistic suite of tools is the perfect way to ensure that your organization upholds constructive feedback as a value at all levels.

🤝 Leapsome can level up your culture

Our holistic suite of products unites tools for feedback, meetings, and goals, making it the perfect partner for a thriving feedback culture.

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Frequently asked questions about constructive feedback

What’s the difference between constructive examples and critical feedback examples?

The main difference between a constructive feedback example and examples of critical feedback is that positive constructive feedback examples are more empathetic and center on future improvement and growth. On the other hand, critical feedback focuses on what the team member did wrong.

What is an example of constructive feedback?

Some common examples of constructive feedback for employees include:

  • When a team member is shy and often doesn’t speak up in large groups: I’ve noticed that you don’t often speak up in the bigger company and department meetings. However, I know from our private conversations that you have tons of great ideas. Is there anything I can do to help you feel more confident sharing your ideas in larger group settings?
  • When a team member seems to struggle with their workload and consistently works on the weekend: I’ve noticed that you’re putting in a lot of hours, particularly on the weekend. Work-life balance is important to our team, and I’d like to see you taking the weekend to rest and recharge rather than finish up work. What changes do you think would make your workload more realistic?
  • When a team member comes across as overly blunt: You’re great at your job, but I’ve noticed that the way you interact with your colleagues sometimes causes tension in your professional relationships. For example, yesterday [insert situation here]. I think you could benefit from some communication skills training to grow as a professional. Would you be interested in that?

What are some constructive feedback examples for peers?

Constructive feedback isn’t only limited to managers and team leads. In a true feedback culture, team members across all levels of an organization feel comfortable exchanging their perspectives in different feedback scenarios.

To that end, here are a few constructive peer feedback examples:

  • When you’re waiting on a colleague to deliver something that’s blocking you from doing your work: Hi, [x name]! Can you give me an estimated due date for when you’ll be able to complete [x task]? I won’t be able to work on [x task] until I have it, so it would be great if you could get it to me as soon as possible. Let me know if you need any help!
  • When you’re collaborating with a new coworker who seems lost on the project you’re currently working on: Hi, [x name]! How are you finding working on [x project] so far? I know it’s been a little challenging. Would it be helpful if we organized a 1:1 check-in so I can provide some guidance and support? I’d be happy to help you out. 
  • When you’ve noticed that a colleague made a mistake in how they use one of your internal systems: Hi, [x name]! I noticed that you made [x error] yesterday on our project management system (PMS). I’ve fixed the mistake and put together a Loom for you showing how I did it. I can also send you our internal SOP for how to use the PMS. Let me know if you have any questions!

Written By

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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