Constructive Feedback for Managers: 7 Examples

Providing feedback isn’t just about giving your manager information; it’s also about establishing trust and transparency.

February 26, 2024
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Providing honest feedback isn’t just about giving your manager information; it’s also about establishing trust and transparency.

Feedback is a gift. While it's typically not easy to give, everyone needs feedback to grow, employees and superiors alike. People want to hear what they’re doing right, but to get a positive outcome they need to know what they can do better. It will impact personal and team performance long-term.

In fact, Netsuite reports that about 53% of employees want to receive more recognition from their immediate managers.

People often get uncomfortable giving feedback because they can’t find the right words or opportunity. It can also be more challenging when it’s an employee to a manager. However, when you commit to providing regular feedback to your manager, it shows that you're invested in your career development. It helps your manager know they can count on you to be honest with them about manager performance reviews, even if things aren't going well.

1:1 meetings, team development meetings, and feedback meetings are great opportunities for managers to tackle employee review comments, and for employees to deliver negative feedback.

A one-on-one Manager Flow serves as a great template to enable you to give constructive feedback to your manager during 1:1 meetings

Feedback is like fertilizer for plants: It helps them grow stronger and healthier over time. If used correctly, feedback can improve your communication skills and quality of life at work and help you and your manager (s) achieve your full potential.

Interested in learning more about positive and negative feedback to the manager? Book a Demo for free today.

Interested in learning more about giving constructive feedback examples for colleague?  Book a Demo for free today.

Why is it important to give critical feedback to your manager?

Giving feedback to your manager is a great way to ensure that you’re on track in your career and not just floating through the motions. It helps both of you understand what it will take to get where you want to be. Providing feedback for supervisor isn’t just about giving your manager information; it’s also about establishing trust and transparency between the two of you.

That said, It's not always easy to provide feedback. In fact, it can be downright hard.

Here are some tips to help make the process go smoothly:

  1. Don't assume you understand why your manager did what they did.
  2. Be specific about what is wrong or what needs improvement.
  3. Avoid generalizations and vague statements.
  4. Be respectful of your manager’s feelings when giving feedback (don't use offensive language).
  5. Be aware of your feelings during the conversation, so they don't get in the way.

Read: How to Manage Your Manager

How do you write positive feedback to your manager?

When writing positive feedback, you want to be as specific as possible so that there is no room for doubt. 

An easy way to achieve that is using a Manager Feedback Flow. It's easy to write negative or generic feedback. But what about writing positive feedback? How do you make it stand out from the crowd?

An employee feedback sample could be: "I like how you gave me feedback and helped me improve my work." This statement is too vague; it leaves room for other interpretations and can lead to miscommunication.

A more specific statement would be, "I appreciate the time you took during my employee evaluation to give feedback on my presentation and provide suggestions on how I could improve."

Also, when writing upward feedback to your manager, be sure not to sound too formal or too distant, as this can make them feel uncomfortable or put off by what they are reading. You want them to know that it was written with good intentions and not as a formality or part of some kind of reporting system.

How do you write performance feedback for your manager?

Regarding performance feedback, always remember that you and your manager are on the same team. You're both trying to help each other succeed!

So, when writing performance feedback for your manager, don’t be afraid to give them constructive criticism. If they're doing their job well, let them know. If they could improve, let them know.

To help you get started, here are 3 tips on how to write an effective performance review for your manager:

  1. Start with what's working.

Every employee has something unique they bring to the team, and it’s important to let them know even when it's more negative than positive. Letting your manager know what they're doing right can be challenging. But by starting with what's working, you can build trust and show your boss that you're on their side.

  1. Give specific examples of what they're doing well.

Did they help you set up a new system? Did they get a promotion? Did their set goals help the team improve?

You can also use an employee recognition flow to show how valued they are. Be specific about what makes them shine so your boss knows exactly what you mean when you compliment their work.

  1. Be honest but diplomatic.

Even if your boss is a great manager, it's important not to shy away from talking about areas where they could improve or things that didn't go as planned. You can be frank about these things without being too harsh or critical. Just ensure it comes across as constructive criticism rather than a personal attack.

Let's look at 360 feedback. This is when a manager receives feedback from both direct reports and other team members, as well as anonymous feedback from peers. This type of feedback can be incredibly valuable in helping managers identify areas where their employees need improvement, such as interpersonal skills, leadership skills, and more.

Here are some examples of negative 360 feedback that could be useful for managers:

- Employees feel their managers don't listen to their concerns.

- Employees feel their managers do not provide enough direction or guidance.

- Employees feel their performance is not adequately recognized or rewarded.

Let's look at appraisal feedback to managers. This is when direct reports provide feedback on their manager's performance. This can be a great way for managers to get an honest assessment of how their team perceives them.

Here are some examples of appraisal feedback to managers that could be useful:

- Employees feel their manager is not open to new ideas.

- Employees don't feel their manager provides adequate feedback and coaching.

- Employees feel their manager is too quick to make decisions without considering their input.

Furthermore, there are also other types of feedback such as peer feedback examples, upwards feedback examples, and anonymous feedback that can be used to provide additional insights. Peer feedback examples can help managers understand how well they interact with their team and how they handle conflicts. Upwards feedback examples can give managers an understanding of how their employees perceive them, and anonymous feedback can allow for more honest and open feedback.

Here are some examples of these types of feedback that could be useful for managers:

- Employees feel their manager is too quick to criticize and not quick enough to praise.

- Employees feel their manager is not open to other team members' opinions.

- Employees feel their manager does not recognize the value of their contributions.

What are some constructive feedback examples for colleagues and managers?

Whether you are giving your manager positive feedback or a negative one, utilize the examples below for direction and ideas on how to make sure the other party hears what you have to say. Receiving feedback (especially negative) is often not easy so having a toolbox of best constructive feedback examples can help.

7 constructive feedback examples of feedback for managers

  1. If you've been working on a project together and want to let them know how it went

"I want to let you know that I really enjoyed working on this project with you. It was really interesting and challenging."

  1. If your manager is making an unfair decision

“I think it would be helpful to have a conversation about the decision you made. I understand that you may not be able to change things, but I think it would be useful to talk about it.”

  1. If your manager has become overbearing and micromanaging

“I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I want to make sure we're on the same page because I know you have high expectations for me, and that's great! But I've noticed that there are times when you micromanage me, and it's making it hard for me to do my job.

I want to be able to rely on your guidance, but sometimes it feels like you're checking up on me too often or getting involved in details that don't matter as much as they used to.

I'm happy to talk more about this if you'd like some more specifics. But either way, I really value our relationship and would appreciate having a chance to discuss this issue with you.”

  1. If your manager is not giving you enough feedback on how you're doing (developmental feedback example)

“I really appreciate what you've told me so far, but I'd love to know more about what you like about my work and what I can do to improve. If there are things that I'm doing that aren't working out very well, things that may be slowing down the team or causing frustration for others, I would really appreciate a heads-up so that I can improve and do better.”

  1. If you disagree with your manager

“I see something different in this situation than you do, and I want to share my thoughts with you before we make a decision on how to move forward with this project or client relationship.”

  1. If your manager's communication style is ineffective

“I wanted to talk about what's going on with our team lately. There seem to be some communication issues between us, and it feels like we're not working together as well as we used to."

  1. If your manager helped you with something at work

“I really appreciate how you handled this situation. It was very helpful because it allowed me to learn something new about the way things work around here that I hadn’t been aware of before.”

Read: How to Give and Take Constructive Criticism

Examples of constructive feedback

How Can Managers Encourage Honest Feedback Without Fear of Repercussions?

Managers can foster an environment that encourages honest feedback by promoting a culture of transparency and trust. This starts with clear communication about the value of feedback and its role in personal and team development. Managers should lead by example, actively seeking feedback on their own performance and responding constructively. Offering training on effective communication can equip both managers and employees with the skills needed to engage in meaningful feedback exchanges. Establishing regular feedback sessions ensures that giving feedback becomes a normalized and valued part of the team's operations. Recognizing and rewarding the act of providing feedback further encourages this practice, making it clear that all voices are heard and appreciated.

What Steps Should Employees Take If Their Feedback Is Ignored?

When feedback is consistently ignored or dismissed, employees should first attempt to understand the manager's perspective, possibly through a dedicated meeting to discuss their concerns. It's crucial to present feedback with specific examples and propose actionable solutions, aiming to foster a constructive dialogue centered around mutual goals and team success. If the situation remains unchanged, escalating the issue to a higher authority, such as HR, might be necessary, particularly if the feedback concerns significant issues impacting performance or well-being. Utilizing available tools for anonymous feedback or employee assistance programs can also offer a means to express concerns without direct confrontation, ensuring that the employee's voice is heard while maintaining professional decorum.

How Can Organizations Measure the Impact of Constructive Feedback on Manager Performance and Team Productivity?

Organizations can measure the impact of constructive feedback on manager performance and team productivity by implementing a structured feedback process and using key performance indicators (KPIs) to track changes over time. Establishing baseline metrics before the feedback process begins allows for a clear comparison post-feedback. These metrics could include employee satisfaction scores, turnover rates, project completion rates, and specific performance metrics related to the manager's role.

Surveys and questionnaires can be utilized to gather direct feedback from employees about their perception of management effectiveness before and after feedback interventions. Additionally, 360-degree feedback mechanisms provide a comprehensive view of a manager's performance from peers, subordinates, and superiors, offering insights into areas of improvement.

Regular follow-ups and assessments are crucial to understanding the long-term impact of feedback on manager behavior and team dynamics. Using a combination of quantitative data and qualitative feedback ensures a holistic view of the feedback's effectiveness. Organizations should also create a culture where continuous improvement is valued, encouraging ongoing feedback and making it a part of the regular performance review cycle to foster a supportive and productive work environment.

How Can Managers Encourage a Culture of Continuous Feedback?

To foster a culture of continuous feedback, managers should start by setting a clear example through their actions, showing that they value and actively seek out feedback for their own improvement. Regularly scheduled feedback sessions, integrated as part of the team's routine, can normalize the practice of giving and receiving feedback. Creating multiple channels for feedback—such as one-on-one meetings, anonymous suggestion boxes, and digital platforms—ensures that employees have various ways to express their thoughts comfortably. Training programs focused on effective communication skills can equip both managers and employees with the tools needed for constructive feedback. Celebrating successes and constructively addressing failures in a transparent manner can reinforce the idea that feedback is an essential part of growth and improvement. Managers should also ensure that feedback leads to action, demonstrating that employee input is valued and can effect change within the organization.

How Can Constructive Feedback Improve Manager-Employee Relationships?

Providing constructive feedback can significantly enhance the relationship between managers and employees by building trust and fostering open communication. When feedback is given in a respectful and supportive manner, it helps create an environment where employees feel valued and understood. This open line of communication encourages employees to share their ideas and concerns, leading to a more collaborative and inclusive workplace culture. Constructive feedback can also help in identifying areas for personal and professional development, enabling both managers and employees to work together towards mutual goals. Over time, this practice contributes to a stronger, more positive working relationship, where both parties feel committed to each other's success and are more willing to tackle challenges together.

Giving Feedback is not an interrogation. It's a conversation.

Providing feedback to your manager is a tricky business. You have to balance honesty with tact, and criticism with a compliment, while also trying not to come across as overly critical or negative. Nobody likes being told they’re doing something wrong, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience if it's done constructively. Or use a feedback model for more examples of feedback for coworkers that is concise and specific.

Assembly has made it incredibly easy to give your manager structured feedback. Here's our Manager Feedback template:

Assembly is empowering employees everywhere to have better conversations, transparent management, and recognition. Schedule time to learn more about feedback examples for peers and managers alike.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

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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

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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