3 Steps to Motivate through Feedback

Julie McKeon

Show employees you care by delivering praise as well as criticism If you’re a regular reader of the CSD blog, you are well aware of …

Show employees you care by delivering praise as well as criticism

If you’re a regular reader of the CSD blog, you are well aware of how passionate we are about process.


If you’re just joining us, let me sum up the main benefit of an established process:  automatically, you have the ability to accomplish any task because you have step-by-step guidelines that outline the method of doing or producing something. With a process in hand, you can get right to work without wasting any time.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could provide you with a guaranteed process for achieving a positive work environment? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple: there is no one magic solution. However, there are certain guiding principles that will help you effect positive change in your work environment, and the one I’d like to share with you today is the art of providing “effective feedback”.

Delivering feedback is not a soft skill that comes naturally, it’s a process. More importantly, it’s a process that delivers maximum ROI.  If your role requires you to provide feedback, then you know it’s no easy task. It’s often difficult to communicate openly about a team member’s job performance, successes, efforts, role perceptions, and areas where skills development is needed.

Here are some guidelines to remember, so that next time you find yourself giving feedback, you can deliver it confidently and constructively. First, view feedback delivery as an opportunity to motivate employees, help them gain confidence, and foster their growth and development. The very act of providing employee feedback allows them to benefit from multiple opportunities to strengthen their performance. The natural result? A more positive work environment.

Second, be sure to give feedback when things are going well, not just when they need improvement. This allows you to escape being labelled as a boss who is liberal with his criticism, but stingy with his praise. If employees hear both positive and negative feedback, they feel responsible and take ownership of their jobs.

Finally, remember that you can always spin a negative situation into a positive growth lesson, so look for ways to do so.

Plan Your Process

Follow these 3 steps to deliver effective employee feedback:

Step 1: Start off by recalling a specific scenario where the employee excelled at their job. The example you select needs to be fact-based and timely. Make certain it boosts their confidence. Employees feel a sense of accomplishment, and I’m sure everyone can agree that this feels darn good. It also creates awareness that their hard work is noticed.

Step 2: Shine light on the area(s) where the employee needs to strengthen their abilities/skills/communication. Keep it brief. Chances are, they’re already well aware of their shortcomings. If this is not the case, communicate openly about the area(s) of concern. Most importantly, provide only relevant examples. Remember to steer clear of “ranting.” Stay focused and on track.

Step 3: Create an action plan together. The only way to proactively move forward is by creating a plan to remove barriers. Be creative in fostering growth opportunities. Suggest a mentoring buddy or monthly reviews, and let the person know you are proud of their daily work.

Don’t be afraid of delivering feedback. Instead, see the process for what it truly is: a fantastic opportunity to motivate and inspire your employees.

What is a strategy you use in delivering effective feedback? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!

Thanks For Sharing!

3 thoughts on “3 Steps to Motivate through Feedback”

  1. Good read Julie! I have definitely valued the feedback given to me by previous managers and greatly benefited from it as well. Pointing out areas for improvement and working on an action plan will help staff excel. Don’t neglect the feedback aspect of your management role – it will truly be motivating for staff!

    • Christine, I am glad you enjoyed the read and most importantly, could relate.

      Your example shows that you were able to accept feedback and take it as an opportunity to grow professionally – as it should!

      Kudos to your manager for delivering feedback in a favourable manner! The delivery of feedback does make a world of difference. I remember being told the golden rule of business and social etiquette is “praise in public and criticize in private”.

  2. Julie is right on. The fundamental message in her suggestions is communication. A leader that is not in touch or fails to deliver feedback is no better than an employee who thinks they are doing the job but falling short.

    Good communication is a key principle of good leadership.

    I would like to ad that many managers/leaders approach their task as if their team all have a crystal ball or ESP. Feedback, good and bad is so essential in achieving a task. Otherwise the team has to guess that they are moving in the right direction.

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Julie McKeon was a project coordinator with CornerStone Dynamics Inc. Julie's 'What the heck' blogs explore the editorial calendar from a new-comer’s perspective.

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