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Different Forms of Feedback and Their Purposes

The purpose of feedback

Feedback is necessary to let people know how well they’re doing at meeting their goals and the expectations of others. It doesn’t have to come from the top down, because you might give feedback to your boss, your peers, or your reports. It’s shared between coworkers at all levels, during meetings, casual discussions, and other workplace interactions.

Giving effective feedback creates a supportive, communicative, and successful working environment. It also motivates recipients to do better. It maintains or improves their performance, and it lets recipients know how others perceive them.

Creating a supportive environment

To ensure you create a supportive environment, be aware of three important factors.

1. Give feedback immediately and regularly

Giving feedback immediately and regularly creates a supportive, communicative, and cooperative environment. Recipients expect feedback as part of organizational communication and grow accustomed to it as routine.

2. Use a friendly, trustworthy tone

When you give feedback to employees, they need to know you’re being friendly, trustworthy, and positive. They’ll only feel genuinely supported when they know that the feedback you give is well-intentioned.

This type of feedback fosters a supportive environment, helping employees to feel comfortable discussing their strengths, weaknesses, and concerns. Feedback delivered in an angry or patronizing way is not supportive.

3. Use feedback to meet goals

Good feedback helps employees meet both personal and organizational goals. It lets them know what the expectations are and how to meet them.

Employees who have a professional attitude to their work appreciate feedback. It motivates them because they want to know how they’re doing, identify problems, and strive for solutions and better results. 

They know your feedback increases their value to their company and in the marketplace. Feedback is also useful for developing a professional attitude in others and securing a higher level of commitment. It encourages employees to take pride in their work and to gain satisfaction from doing it well.

So your feedback helps people grow and develop. It inspires newcomers to invest emotionally in their work. And it encourages longer-term employees to keep learning and to feel valued, so they don’t lose motivation. 

It also lets recipients know how you and others perceive them and reflects their strengths and weaknesses and helps them understand themselves. Feedback gives others a contextual understanding of how their work relates to and affects the people around them.