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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Constructive feedback as a tool

Kirjoittanut: Thais Santos Araujo - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 11 minuuttia.

Constructive feedback as a tool


  1. Introduction

    1. Explanation of constructive feedback and its importance

      Constructive feedback is a form of feedback that focuses on identifying areas for improvement and providing suggestions for how to make those improvements. It is an essential tool for personal and professional development, as it helps individuals to learn and grow from their mistakes and weaknesses. According to Kim and Park (2017), the use of feedback is an effective method of promoting self-regulated learning and academic performance. Constructive feedback can also enhance communication and collaboration by improving the clarity of expectations and creating a more supportive and open work environment. Furthermore, it promotes accountability and responsibility by encouraging individuals to take ownership of their actions and work towards improvement. As Stone and Heen (2014) argue, feedback can also facilitate self-reflection and personal growth, leading to greater self-awareness and improved decision-making skills. Therefore, the ability to give and receive constructive feedback is a valuable skill that is essential for success in both academic and professional settings.

    2.  The purpose of the essay

      The purpose of this essay, titled “Constructive feedback as a tool,” is to explore the benefits and importance of giving and receiving constructive feedback in various contexts, such as education, the workplace, and personal relationships. Feedback is an essential tool for growth and development, but not all feedback is created equal. Constructive feedback is specific, actionable, and aimed at helping the recipient improve. It can be challenging to give and receive feedback effectively, but when done correctly, it can lead to increased self-awareness, better performance, and stronger relationships. This essay will examine the key components of constructive feedback and provide practical tips for giving and receiving it in a way that is productive and beneficial. In this essay, the team SYNTRE comprising of second-year students from Proakatemia will be referenced at various points for comparative analysis with relevant research and techniques. The writer, being a member of the team, recognizes the significance of including the team aspect in this essay. By highlighting the experiences of team SYNTRE, the essay aims to provide practical insights into the challenges and benefits of constructive feedback in a real-world context. By the end of this essay, readers will have a better understanding of the importance of constructive feedback and practical strategies for developing this important skill.

  2. The Benefits of Constructive Feedback

    1. Identifying areas for improvement

      By providing specific and actionable feedback, individuals can identify areas where they need to improve, develop new skills, and work towards achieving their goals (Heen & Stone, 2014). According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, employees who received constructive feedback on areas where they needed to improve reported higher levels of job satisfaction and were more likely to take initiative and engage in problem-solving behaviors (London & Smither, 1995). Moreover, a meta-analysis of studies on the impact of feedback found that providing specific and goal-oriented feedback was positively associated with improved performance (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996; Smither, London, & Reilly, 2005). Overall, constructive feedback that identifies areas for improvement can enhance personal and organizational outcomes, making it a crucial component of effective performance management.The identification of an area of improvement in a colleague, partner, or friend, while initially appearing to be a negative action towards the individual, can be construed as an initial gesture of endowment through the vehicle of constructive feedback. It is imperative to understand that constructive feedback, as a communicative tool, is geared towards fostering development and growth, rather than to promote criticism. To this end, recognizing areas where the individual can improve is an essential first step towards providing constructive feedback.

    2. Enhancing communication and collaboration

      Enhancing communication and collaboration is key for achieving organizational goals and improving overall performance. By promoting open and honest communication, individuals can share ideas, clarify goals, and work together to overcome obstacles.

      According to a study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, effective communication and collaboration were also positively associated with job satisfaction and performance, while a lack of communication and collaboration led to decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover intentions (Axtell, Holman, Unsworth, Wall, & Waterson, 2014). Moreover, a meta-analysis of studies on team communication found that communication and collaboration were positively related to team performance, with clear and concise communication being particularly important (Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson, 2008).

      When individuals give and receive feedback in a constructive manner, it can improve their ability to communicate effectively and collaborate efficiently. Receiving feedback can provide individuals with insights into their strengths and weaknesses, helping them identify areas for improvement and enhancing their ability to work collaboratively with others. Moreover, when feedback is delivered constructively, it creates an environment of trust, openness, and respect, which fosters better communication and collaboration among team members. Therefore, constructive feedback can be used regularly as a powerful tool for enhancing communication and collaboration in both personal and professional relationships.

      To effectively enhance communication and collaboration through constructive feedback, there are several practical tips that individuals can follow. Firstly, feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on behaviors rather than personalities. Secondly, it should be timely and provided in a private and safe setting. Additionally, it is essential to listen actively and avoid becoming defensive when receiving feedback, and when giving feedback, it is crucial to emphasize the positive aspects of the recipient’s work before addressing areas for improvement. Lastly, it is crucial to follow up on feedback to ensure that the necessary changes have been implemented and that progress is being made (London & Smither, 2015). By incorporating these practical tips into the feedback process, individuals can maximize the benefits of constructive feedback in terms of enhancing communication and collaboration.

    3. Promoting accountability and responsibility

      Promoting accountability and responsibility is another significant benefit of constructive feedback. When individuals receive feedback, they are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and be held accountable for their behavior. Constructive feedback can highlight areas where individuals may need to improve, leading to a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for their actions. Additionally, receiving feedback can help individuals understand how their actions impact others, which can lead to greater empathy and accountability. Moreover, when feedback is delivered constructively, it creates a sense of trust and mutual respect, which fosters a culture of accountability and responsibility within a team or organization.

    4. Encouraging self-reflection and personal growth

      According to research conducted by Karami, Karami, and Samavatyan (2017), self-reflection is a critical component of personal growth and development. Additionally, receiving feedback can help individuals overcome blind spots and biases, leading to a more accurate understanding of their abilities and limitations (Ashford, 2016). When individuals engage in self-reflection and personal growth, it not only benefits them individually but also contributes to the success of the team or organization as a whole. Therefore, by encouraging self-reflection and personal growth through constructive feedback, individuals can continuously improve and evolve, leading to greater success and achievement in their personal and professional lives.

  3. The Challenges of Giving Constructive Feedback

    1. Fear of offending or hurting others

      One of the main challenges of giving constructive feedback is the fear of offending or hurting others. Many individuals are hesitant to give feedback as they are worried about how it will be received, and they may fear damaging their relationship with the recipient. According to research conducted by Karkkola and colleagues (2019), fear of causing negative emotions in the recipient is one of the main barriers to giving constructive feedback. In the context of team SYNTRE, despite having established norms and dedicated sessions for constructive feedback, the apprehension of offending others during the process of giving and receiving feedback has remained a significant concern. The hesitancy to provide feedback has been attributed to the fear of damaging one’s relationship with the recipient, which could impact their future working dynamics. Additionally, individuals may feel anxious that their feedback may be misinterpreted, leading to negative repercussions for both parties involved. Despite the efforts made by team SYNTRE to promote constructive feedback, it remains challenging to create a safe space for individuals to provide and receive feedback comfortably. Furthermore, individuals may be concerned that their feedback will be misinterpreted or that they will be perceived as overly critical or harsh (Ashford, 2016). This fear can be compounded when the feedback involves sensitive or personal issues. To overcome this challenge, it is essential to frame the feedback in a constructive and positive manner, emphasizing the recipient’s strengths and providing specific examples of areas for improvement (Gino & Pisano, 2017). It is also crucial to ensure that the feedback is delivered in a private and safe setting, where the recipient feels comfortable and can respond without fear of judgment or reprisal.

      Cultural differences and misunderstandings

      Cultural differences and misunderstandings that may arise in a multicultural group, such as an international team like SYNTRE. Individuals from different cultural backgrounds may have unique perspectives and approaches to communication, which can create challenges in providing and receiving feedback. For example, individuals from some cultures may prefer indirect communication, while others may prefer more direct and straightforward communication styles (Jiang, 2018). These differences can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations during the feedback process, potentially causing offense or damage to the recipient’s self-esteem. As a result, it is crucial to be aware of these cultural differences and to approach feedback with sensitivity and understanding. This may involve taking the time to learn about different cultural communication styles and adjusting one’s approach accordingly, or seeking the support of a mediator who can help bridge the communication gap. By acknowledging and addressing these cultural differences, constructive feedback can be provided in a way that is respectful and effective, promoting personal and professional growth for all members of the multicultural team.

  4. How to Give Effective Constructive Feedback

    1. Start with positive feedback

      For an effective constructive feedback it is essential to provide feedback in a way that is constructive, respectful, and motivational. One effective technique for giving constructive feedback is to begin with positive feedback. Positive feedback can help to build trust and establish a positive tone for the conversation, making it easier for the recipient to receive and act on the feedback. According to research, positive feedback can also enhance motivation and improve performance (Grant, 2011). To provide positive feedback, it is important to identify specific behaviors or actions that the recipient has done well and to communicate them clearly and explicitly. Moreover, the feedback should be sincere and meaningful, rather than being mere flattery (Gibbs, 2013). By starting with positive feedback, constructive feedback can be delivered in a way that is more likely to be received positively, leading to improved performance and personal growth.

    2. Be specific

      Vague or general feedback can be confusing and less effective in bringing about change or improvement. Specific feedback, on the other hand, provides clear guidance on what behaviors or actions need to be addressed and how to address them (Sargeant et al., 2016). To provide specific feedback, it is essential to identify specific behaviors or actions that need to be addressed and to provide examples of when and how they occurred. Moreover, the feedback should be framed in a way that is constructive and respectful, with a focus on the behavior rather than the person (Stone & Heen, 2014). By being specific, constructive feedback can be delivered in a way that is actionable and effective in driving positive change.

    3. Be objective

      Being objective ensures that feedback is based on facts rather than opinions or assumptions. Objective feedback is focused on the recipient’s behavior and performance, rather than their personality or character, and is more likely to be perceived as constructive and useful (Carter & Baghurst, 2013). To provide objective feedback, it is essential to base feedback on specific observations and data, such as performance metrics or behaviors that have been observed. Moreover, the feedback should be delivered in a neutral and non-judgmental tone, focusing on the behavior rather than the person (Stone & Heen, 2014). By being objective, constructive feedback can be delivered in a way that is fair, accurate, and helps the recipient to identify specific areas for improvement.

    4. Use appropriate language

      Language can impact how feedback is received, and the use of inappropriate or unprofessional language can make feedback less effective or even damaging. Therefore, feedback should be delivered using clear and concise language that is appropriate for the context and the recipient (Van den Bossche et al., 2011). According to research, the use of positive language in feedback can lead to better outcomes than negative or critical language (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996). Furthermore, it is essential to avoid using language that is judgmental, confrontational, or accusatory, as this can be perceived as unhelpful or even hostile (Stone & Heen, 2014). By using appropriate language, constructive feedback can be delivered in a way that is both professional and helpful in driving positive change.

    5. Provide actionable suggestions

      One useful technique for providing actionable feedback is the “I like, I wish, What if” framework (Stone & Heen, 2014). This approach involves starting with positive feedback by identifying something that is appreciated or done well (“I like”). Then, feedback is given on areas that need improvement or could be done differently (“I wish”). Finally, potential solutions or ideas for improvement are offered (“What if”). This approach provides a clear structure for providing feedback that is both positive and constructive, while also offering actionable recommendations for improvement.

      In addition to using a structured framework, it is essential to ensure that the feedback is specific and actionable. Feedback that is too general or vague can be difficult to act upon, and may not provide the recipient with clear guidance on how to improve (Van den Bossche et al., 2011). Therefore, feedback should provide clear examples or evidence to support the feedback. This helps to ensure that the recipient understands the feedback and can take concrete steps to address the issues raised.

    6. Follow up

      Following up on constructive feedback is crucial to ensure that the recipient understands the feedback and has the support they need to implement any changes. A follow-up conversation or meeting can provide an opportunity to discuss progress and any challenges that may have arisen. This can also demonstrate that the feedback giver is invested in the recipient’s development and success.

      A helpful way to ensure follow-up occurs is to set clear expectations and timelines for improvement. This can be done by establishing specific goals or action steps, and setting a timeline for when progress should be reviewed. By establishing these expectations and regularly checking in, it is more likely that the recipient will take the feedback seriously and work towards making meaningful changes (Gupta & Krishnan, 2019).

      Another effective approach to follow-up is to seek feedback on the feedback given. This means asking the recipient about their experience receiving the feedback and whether they found it helpful or not. This can provide valuable insights into how to improve the delivery of feedback in the future, and also allows the recipient to provide feedback on how the feedback process can be improved.

      Despite the importance of this step, it has not been integrated into the feedback system utilized by SYNTRE team. As such, it would be beneficial for the team to consider adopting a more comprehensive feedback system that includes follow-up sessions. By investing more time and resources in designing and implementing new feedback sessions, the team can gain valuable insights into how they can improve their feedback process and ensure that the recipient fully understands and benefits from the feedback provided. Moreover, the inclusion of a follow-up step can enhance the accountability of both the giver and receiver of feedback, thereby creating a more collaborative and effective feedback culture within the team.

  5. Conclusion

    In conclusion, constructive feedback is a powerful tool that can enhance personal and professional development, communication and collaboration, accountability and responsibility, and self-reflection. Despite its benefits, giving constructive feedback can be challenging, as individuals may fear offending or hurting others, or face cultural differences and misunderstandings. However, by following a few key guidelines, individuals can give effective constructive feedback that encourages growth and development. By starting with positive feedback, being specific and objective, using appropriate language, and providing actionable suggestions, individuals can ensure that their feedback is well-received and leads to positive change. Ultimately, constructive feedback is a critical component of effective performance management, and individuals and organizations that embrace its benefits can achieve greater success and satisfaction in their work.

  6. References:
    Ashford, S. J. (2016). Feedback-seeking in individual adaptation: A resource perspective. Research in Organizational Behavior, 36, 131-146.

    Axtell, C. M., Holman, D., Unsworth, K. L., Wall, T. D., & Waterson, P. E. (2014). Shopfloor innovation: Facilitating the suggestion and implementation of ideas. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(1), 1-19.

    Carter, M., & Baghurst, T. (2013). A review of literature on feedback in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(2), 240-252.

    Gino, F., & Pisano, G. (2017). Why organizations don’t learn. Harvard Business Review, 95(11), 1-9.

    Grant, A. M. (2011). The significance of task significance: Job performance effects, relational mechanisms, and boundary conditions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(2), 337-353.

    Gibbs, G. (2013). 12 tips for giving feedback successfully. Medical Teacher, 35(10), 819-823.

    Gupta, M., & Krishnan, V. R. (2019). Giving and Receiving Feedback: Perspectives and Practices from Industry. Journal of Management Education, 43(1), 26-53.

    Karami, A., Karami, H., & Samavatyan, H. (2017). The role of self-reflection in enhancing personal and professional growth. International Journal of Advanced Biotechnology and Research, 8(3), 1275-1281.

    Karkkola, P., Saari, E., & Virtanen, H. (2019). Overcoming barriers to giving and receiving feedback. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 9(10), 1-7.

    Kim, W., & Park, H. J. (2017). The effects of feedback type on self-regulated learning and academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(2), 116-130.

    Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254-284.

    London, M., & Smither, J. W. (1995). Feedback orientation, feedback culture, and the longitudinal performance management process. Human Resource Management Review, 5(3), 247-267.

    Mathieu, J. E., Maynard, M. T., Rapp, T., & Gilson, L. (2008). Team effectiveness 1997–2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future. Journal of Management, 34(3), 410-476.

    Smither, J. W., London, M., & Reilly, R. R. (2005). Does performance improve following multisource feedback? A theoretical model, meta-analysis, and review of empirical findings. Personnel Psychology, 58(1), 33-66.

    Stone, D., & Heen, S. (2014). Thanks for the feedback: The science and art of receiving feedback well. Penguin.

    Van den Bossche, P., Gijselaers, W. H., Segers, M., & Kirschner, P. A. (2011). Feedback and error correction in learning and training: too much of a good thing? Educational Psychologist, 46(4), 216-224.


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