4 Constructive Types of Feedback Managers Should Know

Learn effective constructive feedback types for managers to drive business success and enhance team performance.

March 23, 2023
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If the mere mention of "feedback" in your organization sends shivers down your spine and conjures up Darth Vader's "Imperial March" theme song, it's time to reevaluate your feedback process. 

Feedback is crucial for fostering growth and improving team performance. Providing regular positive feedback not only boosts employee morale but also serves as a roadmap for success. Additionally, it sets the bar for the level of performance expected from the team.

As a manager, you are not just a leader; you're also a mentor and guide. And an essential requirement for this role is the ability to communicate feedback to employees and receive it in return

However, delivering feedback is not always a straightforward process. There's a fine line between feedback and criticism; many managers blur that line. Employees want honest feedback that can drive personal growth and help them perform better. They want constructive feedback.

So, it's crucial to ensure that feedback is delivered correctly and with the right intention – as a guide, not an attack.

According to George Bernard Shaw, "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." In light of this, we will explore the different types of feedback for managers and how each type of meaningful feedback contributes to team performance.

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback provides valuable and specific information or suggestions to team members to help them achieve their goals, improve their performance, or work better with others. It's important to think of providing constructive feedback as a caring gesture that shows a personal investment in someone's growth.

Not only is it helpful for managers to give feedback to employees, but it's also crucial for employees to provide constructive feedback to their managers. This two-way feedback can create a culture of trust where everyone has a stake in each other's development. In a remote work environment, feedback is especially valuable in helping to improve effectiveness.

We should note that delivering feedback in a way that doesn't come across as criticism is crucial. Words and tone can significantly impact work relationships, so managers should always approach delivering constructive feedback with an open and kind mind.

Why is constructive feedback important?

Constructive feedback can be a game-changer for your team and your business, and here are the reasons why:

1. Employee motivation

Regularly giving employees effective feedback will inspire them to perform at peak levels. Constructive feedback can also help employees identify areas to improve on.

2. Goal clarification

Feedback should show employees how to improve their work and increase their productivity. In a study by Officevibe, 72% of workers believe their management could set more specific objectives for positive employee feedback. Offering vague and unactionable feedback not only breeds confusion among employees but also reduces employee engagement and participation.

3. Builds Loyalty and Trust

Business owners often forget that employees are their first ambassadors. If they do not believe in your objectives, convincing potential customers and even new hires would be difficult. Employees who receive feedback feel valued and supported by their manager, a positive company culture which can help build brand loyalty. Actively engaged employees are less likely to seek or be interested in new employment. In fact, low-engagement teams frequently see 18% to 43% higher turnover rates than high-engagement teams.

4. Boosts Employee Engagement

Feedback is essential for employee engagement since it links an employee's performance and effort with company goals. Employees who receive regular feedback feel connected to the organization and more engaged. Gallup data show that employees who strongly feel they received "valuable feedback" the previous week are nearly four times more likely to be engaged than other employees.

Types of Feedback Managers Should Know

Now, let's discuss some feedback examples and how each can be formative to your company culture.

1. Positive Reinforcement

Feedback doesn't always have to be negative. Positive reinforcement or positive feedback is key for motivating employees and building self-assurance. A well-designed recognition program can help boost average employee performance by 11.1%

Managers should acknowledge and reward good performance by offering top-notch feedback that highlights employees' achievements. A noteworthy part of positive feedback is that it should be as specific as possible. Just saying a generic "good job" might get a smile out of an employee, but it doesn't show them what they've done right or how they've helped the company.


John went out of his way to prepare a visually appealing report for the client meeting, which impressed the client. You can approach the feedback this way.

"You really impressed the client with those stunning visuals you prepared. How did you fit all that data in there? It made it more understandable, and now they're purchasing 2x the original order! Keep making those numbers simpler. We sincerely appreciate you.

Perks: Lifts spirits, ramps up motivation, and promotes the continuation of excellent behaviors.

2. Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is often misconstrued as negative feedback, but it's less confrontational and lets you provide unfavorable feedback without hurting feelings or demotivating people. This feedback type concentrates on areas for improvement and offers suggestions on how to get better.


Anne is a hardworking employee, but lately, she's been missing deadlines. What do you do?

"Hi Anne, thank you so much for your time preparing that content plan; our growth team is seeing some pretty awesome numbers. Lately, I noticed that projects aren't turned in as timely as they should be, and I am a little concerned. Do you have too much on your table right now? Is there any way we can support you? I'll gladly discuss options to help you be the best you can be here."

Perks: Spurs growth and development, nurtures a growth mindset, and enhances overall performance.

3. Coaching Feedback

Coaching feedback is all about helping employees hone their leadership skills, and reach their potential. Managers should ask questions to help employees reflect on their performance, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and discover solutions for improvement. Coaching feedback is a one-of-a-kind, collaborative approach and usually involves one-on-one sessions.


Sam just got promoted as team lead, but they've never managed any team meetings for anyone before. Sam's not sure they're doing well and has asked you for advice.

You can talk Sam through their fears and ask why they think they aren't doing well. Share some resources with them and ask them to meet people who've been in that position before. You can also encourage them to talk transparently with their other team members about how to work together.

Perks: Fosters self-awareness, encourages personal growth, and results in improved performance and problem-solving skills.

4. Negative Feedback

While not usually the most fun aspect of a manager's work, Negative criticism is sometimes required to address performance concerns or unproductive behaviors. There are ways to give negative and constructive feedback examples, without sounding like a jerk.

It would help if you didn't make it a "you" problem — this will be misunderstood as a personal attack. However, this depends on the situation. You should also proffer solutions and resources to help the employee or recommend them for a class.

Example 1:

Jane keeps submitting documents with obvious typographical errors for her board presentation.

" We have noticed some of the documents submitted to the board have obvious typos. This does not make the team look good. Instead of submitting as early as possible, we feel that taking the time to proofread and edit the document would make it easier to read."

Example 2:

Harry has been quarreling with and insulting his coworkers. Everyone is distrustful of him, and they've reported the situation to you. You must manage this situation cautiously. It won't be good to talk condescendingly to Harry, but you still want to sound firm enough to deter further conflict—this time, you have to be direct.

“Harry, I have noticed the tension between you and your colleagues. I have also noticed the rude way you speak to them too. Is there something upsetting you? Or are you not happy here anymore? I'm here to talk with you and find any solutions. 

Perks: Boosts performance, promotes self-awareness, enhances communication skills, supports continuous learning, and increases accountability.

What should a manager ensure when giving feedback?

No matter what form of feedback you intend to give, there are certain best practices that any manager must follow to make the process as easy as possible. You must ensure that: 

1. Feedback is timely and relevant: Offering feedback for an event in the distant past wastes both parties' time. It might also be seen as petty. Ideally, feedback should be given within 48 hours or during a performance review.

2. The feedback is specific and actionable: Vague or general feedback helps no one. When you give feedback, ensure that employees understand the purpose of the feedback and how to improve.

3. The tone is respectful and supportive: Always maintain a respectful manner while conveying and giving constructive feedback. The meaning behind your words is further amplified by how you say them. If you think your tone might be harsh, wait a while before giving feedback.

4. The feedback is balanced: Provide a balanced mix of positive reinforcement and constructive feedback. You can use the “sandwich” method to wedge negative feedback between positive ones.

What should a leader not do when giving feedback?

Where there's a Do, there's always a Don't. Here are five Don'ts managers should avoid when giving feedback:

  • Providing vague or general feedback instead of specific feedback that zeroes in on certain actions and pinpoints what needs to be improved or maintained.
  • Focusing on the person rather than their actions or behaviors.
  • Using negative language or tone that alienates employees.
  • Comparing employees to others and creating distrust.
  • Ignoring positive behaviors and accomplishments while amplifying only the negative ones.
  • Giving feedback to an employee at a client meeting or in a humiliating setting. You must always show a united and professional front. 

What are the 7 requirements of effective feedback?

Effective manager feedback is not as unattainable as you would think. To make sure your feedback is helpful and well-received, keep these seven requirements of effective feedback in mind:

  1. Focused on growth and improvement: Before giving feedback, take a step back to ascertain the purpose. Why are you speaking to them about this? The primary purpose of feedback should be to support the employee's growth and development. Frame your feedback around this goal, focusing on how they can improve and letting them know you believe in them.
  2. Clear and specific: Sometimes, it's hard to get to the point when giving feedback, especially when it's negative. Your feedback should be clear and direct to avoid confusion or misinterpretation. Clearly state the issue or behavior and provide examples, so the employee understands what needs improvement or maintenance. You can use the sandwich method to cushion the effect of negative feedback.
  3. Timely and frequent: Giving feedback after an occurrence or observation guarantees that the event remains fresh in the employees' and managers' memories. This allows for a more accurate and meaningful discussion, helping to address issues before they escalate.
  4. Balanced: While addressing areas for improvement is essential, don't forget to highlight the employee's strengths and successes. Balancing positive and negative feedback can help maintain motivation and demonstrate that you recognize their efforts.
  5. Actionable: Offer practical suggestions and actionable steps that the employee can take to improve. This empowers the employee to take ownership of their growth and shows your support in their development.
  6.  Go both ways: Feedback should not just come from you alone. Let your team speak too. Your employee might have a valid reason for an action or inaction. It would help if you took the time to actively listen to their story and welcome any attempt to give feedback to managers.
  7. Delivered with empathy and respect: Approach feedback conversations with compassion and respect for the employee's feelings and perspectives. This helps create a safe space for open and honest dialogue and fosters a positive working relationship.

By incorporating these seven requirements into your feedback process, you can deliver effective, constructive feedback that promotes your employees' personal and professional growth. 

What are five guidelines for giving feedback in teams?

Giving feedback in a team is a tad harder than giving one-on-one feedback. You don't want to embarrass a teammate in front of their colleagues, and you don't want to seem like you're playing favorites or don't care at all. It's like walking a tightrope over a pool filled with mines!

However, there are five crucial guidelines you need to consider when providing constructive feedback in teams. These tips make the feedback process smoother and help maintain a positive team dynamic. They are:

  • Create an environment of open dialogue and trust (team meetings are a great place to start)
  • Promote peer-to-peer and 360-degree feedback
  • Provide team members with regular opportunities to share their thoughts
  • Prioritize actions and behaviors over personalities
  • Appreciate accomplishments and recognize progress
  • Be receptive to upward feedback from your team too.

 Coordinate giving constructive feedback with Assembly

Providing effective feedback as a manager is an essential skill that makes or mars workplace dynamics. It is challenging to master, but it is not impossible. Just remember that there are different types of constructive feedback. As you continue providing feedback, you'll naturally become more adept at it. To make the most of this process, you must document your feedback and resources in a centralized tool that supports your team's personal and professional improvement.

Assembly provides a platform for sharing, receiving, and organizing feedback, enabling you to cultivate an environment that encourages teamwork, transparent communication, and ongoing enhancement.

Ready to take your employee feedback process to the next level and learn how to deliver constructive feedback? Contact us today for a demo and discover how Assembly can be your supportive communication tool, revolutionize how you manage feedback and improve employee communication skills.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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