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How to give constructive feedback (with example scripts)

constructive feedback performance discussion

Human resources experts Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd found, in The 2020 Workplace Report, that there was a disconnect between the type of feedback that employees valued and the kind of feedback leaders where giving. They discovered that employees ranked "receiving straight feedback" as the top priority; however, leaders were not prepared to execute this type of feedback.

Whether we are talking about a performance review, positive feedback, or constructive feedback, we see a severe gap in what needs to be said and what leaders say. Often the problem for the leader is knowing what specific words to say or how to start the conversation. The leader often yearns for constructive feedback examples or a performance review sample.

Here I will provide two models for mastering feedback and include script examples.

Quick Feedback

The Quick Feedback Model provides a way to give impactful feedback in under 5 minutes. This model is best for positive feedback or minor constructive feedback discussions. As an example, you could use this model instead of saying "thank you" for a job well done. You can also use this to quickly redirect an employee who has not demonstrated previous performance issues.

Quick Feedback Steps

1. Be Specific

2. Show Impact

3. Make a connection to the future

Quick Feedback Examples


Thanks or redoing the request form. I was impressed that you were able to take the year worth of customer complaints and suggestions and make upgrades in just a week. Your efforts are going to make the process faster for our customers, which will free up their time to concentrate on their mission. You continue to exceed expectations.


Supervisor: Good afternoon, Isabel. I see that the monthly database report that was due yesterday has not come in yet. What's going on?

Isabel: Oh, man, I forgot about it. I will get it done now, sorry.

Supervisor: Ok, that will work this time. The report deadlines are set to give me time to review the reports before sending them to the Board of Directors. When you do not get the stories to me on time, it means that we risk not getting the reports to the Board on time. Your reports are of high quality, and I want to make sure the Board sees your efforts. So please let me know if you need anything from me.

Isabel: I understand and will let you know if I need anything.

constructive feedback checklist

FUN Feedback

Use The FUN Feedback Model when you have tried Quick Feedback, but the employee continues to struggle with meeting her job requirements.

Frame the Discussion

1. Establish the direction of the meeting

I want to talk about report X being late.

2. Acknowledge the employee's value

I know your future goal is to run a marketing department, so I want to make sure we discuss report X so I can help you improve.

Understand the Situation

1. State the facts and avoid generalizations

In this report [hands report to employee] I highlighted the three times you used last quarter's metrics instead of the current data.

2. Check for alignment by asking many questions

Am I reading that correctly? What happened?

3. State the impact

The report gets published and is used by X to make decision y, so we need to make sure the data is correct.

4. Seek buy-in

What do you think will happen if we publish incorrect data? What does that mean for the company? What does that mean for your goal of running a marketing office?

Establish Next Steps

1. Solicit suggestions

What can we do to ensure next month's report is correct?

2. Create commitment

It was not my intention for you to feel like you could not ask me questions about the report. I think it is an excellent idea for us to meet monthly to review your projects. Let's meet on the third Monday of each month at 10 am on Zoom.

4. Acknowledge the process

Thanks for meeting with me. I know things have been stressful since Jon left. I appreciate you talking with me, so we can develop a game plan for getting this project complete.

5. Make a connection to the future

I think our monthly meetings will help keep your projects on track, and I look forward to seeing you showcase your expertise in next week's report.

performance review checklist and examples

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