How to Deliver Employee Feedback That Gets Heard

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

Most managers think their role is to fix, to watch for areas where their employees miss the mark and correct that behavior. Though this is certainly a component of being a manager, the more critical and meaningful responsibilities of a manager are to guide, support, develop and coach employees into significant or greater performance. If your communication is primarily critical or corrective – instead of supporting, encouraging and empowering – you risk disengaging your employees. They’ll just tune you out.

So how can you get your employees to hear you, regardless of whether you’re sharing supportive or corrective feedback?

Here are my top 3 tips on how to deliver feedback in an intentional manner to ensure employees hear you.

  1. Be present. You can’t offer feedback – supportive or corrective – if you have no idea what’s going on. Most of us only notice things when they go really wrong, which means we’re clearly missing the things that go right – prime opportunities to provide supportive feedback or applause. Tune in. Pay attention. You can’t guide, support and coach without the facts.
  2. Make feedback only about behaviors. Feedback should only be information about how someone acts or acted, not who someone is. You may be upset about the actions of your employee, but that doesn’t make them bad, horrible or awful. Reconnecting to, activating and developing employees’ core strengths is the purpose of powerful supportive or corrective feedback. Venting is unproductive.
  3. Deliver feedback in a way the other person will understand. Feedback has two parts: content and delivery. Be sure both of these align to who is receiving the feedback. Technical explanations to someone non-technical or raising your voice to someone who is timid and shy will guarantee you won’t be heard. Choose what to say and be intentional in how you say it.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What type of feedback do you typically provide to your employees?
  2. In what ways can you change your approach to providing feedback to ensure your content and delivery is appropriate for the employee you’re speaking with?
  3. How will you inspire and engage employees with well-delivered feedback?


Consider reading Succeeding at Difficult Conversations

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This is a modified version of the full article, which originally appeared on Jay’s LinkedIn page, December 2015.

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