22 Constructive feedback examples & tips for managers

Written by: Officevibe | Edited by: Rachel Steben
Updated on: Published on: April 15, 2022 |  Reading time: 9m

Constructive feedback is an essential tool in any manager’s arsenal in improving team morale and performance. Delivering constructive feedback requires empathetic communication skills, a people-centered mindset, and a good grasp of feedback methodologies. Even the best leaders can sometimes find the process challenging.

An effective way to learn and hone in on delivering honest feedback is by studying examples of high-quality constructive feedback. So we’ve rounded up 22 of them to show what constructive feedback entails and get your creative juices flowing concerning your workplace!

22 Constructive employee feedback examples

Feedback is not just for quarterly performance reviews anymore, and the ability to communicate effectively with your employees is more critical than ever. We’ll explore the fine art of giving constructive feedback using real-life scenarios, examples, and actionable advice.

Here are 22 specific examples of constructive feedback to help you sharpen your feedback skills.

Tardiness and absenteeism

Is an employee frequently late to team meetings or running behind in the morning? When discussing the issue, show genuine concern, set clear expectations, and avoid an accusatory tone.

1. “I’ve noticed that you’re struggling to make your afternoon sessions with the team, and I’m concerned that you may miss some vital information. Can we work together to develop a plan to make sure that this doesn’t happen again?”

2. “We’ve missed you during our morning meetings. I know you have a heavy workload, but we value your input and ideas. How can I support you in improving your time management skills?”

Declining performance

If you notice an employee’s performance declining, a logical explanation likely exists. To avoid sounding nosy, take a generalist approach.

3. “The team has noticed that you’ve missed some deadlines lately. Is everything ok? Let’s schedule some time to chat where we can assess current workload, any roadblocks, and develop a plan so that you can get back to feeling focused and productive in your day-to-day.”

4. “I wanted to connect with you and see how you’re doing. I’ve noticed that you don’t show the same motivation as usual. How can I help you get back on track? Let’s review your priorities and brainstorm the best ways to accomplish them.”

Pro tip: Offer a one-on-one meeting in a private, judgment-free environment for employees who have trouble opening up.

Speaking over others

If your team members operate in a fast-paced environment, sometimes the extroverts will unknowingly “take over” in a group meeting while others get lost in the noise. While a passionate employee is good, talking over others isn’t conducive to productivity—or collaboration.

5. “I appreciate the passion you bring to the project! However, you also need to make space for others in the conversation. Letting others talk will support your development, and it will also help other members of the team bring their creative solutions. Let’s come up with a solution that utilizes your passion and that of the team.”

6. “I love the creativity and new ideas you bring to our brainstorming sessions. But, when you get excited, sometimes you forget to share the floor. When I’m in a creative flow, I write down my ideas while others speak so I can remember them. Would you like to try that during our next group collaboration?”

employees talking to one another at table

Negative attitude

Even one team member with a toxic attitude can significantly affect employee morale. Constructive feedback can stop this issue in its tracks before it becomes too disruptive to the team.

7. “The team has recently noticed that you’re struggling to stay positive. We’re all in this together. Is there anything the team or I can do to help?”

8. “Hey, I wanted to check how you’ve been feeling lately. Can we talk about what’s bothering you? I appreciate how hard you’ve been working, and I would like to help you solve your problems. We can talk privately or schedule a peer-to-peer meeting for an open and honest discussion.”

Dive deeper: Dealing with sour attitudes can be tough. Learn more about how to give feedback on negative attitudes in the workplace.

Recurring mistakes

Mistakes happen. And when they don’t get addressed, they often happen again. Take a moment to course correct and avoid mistakes becoming habits. One-on-one meetings offer an excellent opportunity to bring up these kinds of conversations.

9. “You’re generally very good at learning from past mistakes, but the team has noticed you making this one similar mistake during the current project. Understandably, such small things may slip through the cracks, but I wanted to flag it so that you can be more vigilant in the future.”

10. “I noticed your last reports had a few errors. Do you know how they might have slipped past you? How can we make sure this doesn’t happen next time?”

Pro tip: During your one-on-one session, empathize with the employee to build a positive, judgment-free vibe. Give concise, clear guidance and maintain an understanding but firm attitude.

Poor teamwork skills

Evaluating your team’s collaboration skills should be a top priority for leaders. Focus on creating a mutually supportive environment and improving employee morale.

11. You’ve got the talent and drive to be a shining star in this company, but you tend to stay apart from the wider team. What do you think would help you integrate better with your teammates?”

12. “I know you’re all hard workers and dedicated to your jobs, but we need to focus on improving cooperation and supporting each other. Can we brainstorm solutions for making everyone feel like a valuable team player? When we all work together, our productivity soars. How can we strengthen our group bond?”

Pro tip: Are your employees struggling to relate? Here’s some excellent information on the four pillars of employee relations.

Ineffective communication

Effective communication between a manager and employees is a critical component of success. Providing regular, constructive feedback is vital for improving communication in a group setting and during one-on-one meetings.

13. “I’ve noticed that we sometimes have a communication mismatch. Do you want to work together to understand better how we can communicate more effectively?”

14. “Your work has been great, and I would love to help you improve even more. Can we schedule a weekly sync so I can stay in the loop and offer my support when you need it?”

Pro tip: Providing feedback helps employees feel recognized and boosts the employee experience. Maintain an approachable vibe and focus on both giving and receiving feedback from employees. Keep your communication clear, objective, authentic, and fact-based.

Missing goals

Employees with a solid commitment to their job will have moments when they feel disappointed and guilty about missing a goal. Acknowledge their disappointment and lift them back up by giving feedback that offers actionable solutions to prevent the same missed opportunity in the future.

15. “We appreciate your passion for this project, despite a few hiccups. What can we learn from this experience? I’m always here to support you if you need help.”

16. “Your work ethic and dedication to achieving goals are admirable and a valuable part of this team. I know you’re upset that Project X didn’t go exactly as planned, but it’s a meaningful learning experience. How can we realign your goals moving forward to ensure success?”

Negative interpersonal relationships and gossip

When teammates get along, the positive vibes are infectious. People who genuinely like each other produce extraordinary teamwork! Expect to see greater creativity, stronger bonds, and better morale when you encourage positive social interaction.

17. “I know you may have heard something negative about X, and I’ve noticed that many team members share your concerns. Shall we get together and set the record straight?”

18) “Hey, I noticed the tension between you and Kevin. You’re valuable team members, and I want to help you work through your issues together. Can I schedule a mediation session to help you both understand each other better?”

Pro tip: Avoid participating in office gossip: It negatively affects coworker relationships and creates a toxic work environment.

Lack of initiative to solve problems 

Every successful manager pushes employees to take the initiative when problem-solving. It facilitates productivity and growth, and development on the team. Encourage independence, but be clear that any employee who feels stuck can come to you for help.

19. “I’m glad that you’re comfortable asking for help. That’s an important skill. Next time you need a hand, I would like to see you bring forth possible solutions along with your request.”

20. “I appreciate all your hard work on Project X, but I noticed you needed extra help. I know you’re a resourceful person. What kind of help can I give you to help you improve your confidence in your critical thinking skills?”

Difficulty applying critiques

For constructive feedback to be effective, it needs to be clear, concise, and contain actionable guidance. Set your team up for success by outlining clear boundaries regarding workload and expectations, and offer the space to open up conversations around the feedback.

21. “I know performance reviews can be challenging to hear, and you may not agree with all of the constructive criticism you’ve received. If there’s anything you want to discuss further, please feel free to reach out.”

22. “I’d like to schedule a weekly one-on-one meeting together. Let’s use this time to make sure we’re clear about expectations and priorities. You’re a great team member, and I want to help you succeed.”

Hungry for more?

Take a look at these 15 employee feedback examples for real-life situations.

Types of employee feedback

Different circumstances require different solutions and knowing what type of feedback to give in a particular situation is an invaluable management skill.

Positive feedback

When a team member does well, giving positive employee feedback celebrates their success and reinforces positive actions and behaviors. By recognizing your employee’s positive impact, you give them a clear understanding of their work’s value to the team.

Negative feedback

Negative feedback highlights areas where employees need improvement. Common negative behaviors include frequent tardiness, missing goals, toxic attitudes, etc. When giving critical feedback, make it honest, open, and impactful while offering guidance and advice on professional development.

Constructive feedback

Many people confuse positive feedback examples with constructive feedback examples, but they’re different. Constructive feedback guides the recipient to a positive outcome and better performance and may focus on some of their negative attributes.

Constructive feedback can include praise, criticism, or both. It should be fact-based, not opinion-based. It should never sound like a personal attack and always offer a chance for growth.

Dive deeper: Check out this comprehensive manager’s guide to employee feedback.

How to build a feedback-oriented workplace culture

Understanding the benefits of continuous feedback is the first step in building a better workplace, but the practicalities of integrating it into your corporate culture can be a challenge.

People may be reluctant to provide feedback regarding their superiors due to the fear of repercussions or the belief that their input will remain unheard. Some managers may also believe that criticism counts as constructive feedback, resulting in an environment of distrust.

So how do you start nurturing a strong feedback culture? The main focus should be encouraging communication without repercussions, both from employees and managers. Anonymous surveys are an excellent place to start. They can show employees that the company is ready to listen while also allowing managers to identify systemic issues in the organization.

Gain your team’s confidence with Officevibe’s employee feedback tool — a conversation starter that regularly encourages your people to provide meaningful feedback to their managers.

Constructive feedback: a boost to everyone’s performance

Constructive feedback can enhance your team’s overall performance, improve morale and even improve relationships in the workplace. Having these types of conversations may feel awkward or unnatural at first, but our examples of constructive feedback are an excellent place to start.