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“Good communication tops most people’s lists of important workplace skills.  Though business offices, retail establishments and shop floors are relying more and more on complex electronic equipment, not all of the information employees need is found on-line and in databases.  Effective person-to-person communication is more important than ever as teams ‘form and storm,’ management becomes more egalitarian, and employees learn to work cross-functionally.”

“One of the most important person-to-person communication skills is the ability to give and receive feedback effectively.  It is also one of the most challenging.  No amount of sophisticated technology can diminish the anxiety supervisors, team leaders and team members can feel when faced with a feedback session.”

“The good news is that feedback doesn’t have to be painful.  By learning proven techniques, you can develop your feedback skills.  With practice, you’ll be able to turn feedback session into tools that can help you and your coworkers improve your job performance and meet important goals.”

Giving Feedback Examples


  • Be objective and accurate
  • Provide specific, detailed examples about the employee's behavior
  • Explain how behavior affected the work group and achievement of goal
  • Give feedback in a style that matches the receiving employee's style


  • Words that display emotion
  • Vague comments
  • Stating observations in a manner that will be viewed as critical or destructive by the employee
  • Saying nothing; it can be misinterpreted

Work Examples


  • "Your quick response in making these repairs ourselves, saved both down-time and money."
  • "You have missed the last two project deadlines."
  • "At the last 3 committee meetings, you have not given an update on your project."
  • "On February 3rd, 6th and 10th, you were late arriving to work."
  • "Lack of proofreading leads to doing work over again and undermines our professional image when items with errors are distributed."
  • "I've noticed that whenever someone brings up a new idea, you immediately tell them it won't work. That inhibits others in your team to express ideas that may help us work more efficiently."


  • "You do a good job."
  • "You never meet deadlines."
  • "You're never prepared for meetings."
  • "You're always late in the morning."
  • "With your lack of ability, I can't imagine you ever being successful in this line of work."
  • "You have a lousy attitude."

Poertner, Shirley and Karen Masetti Miller. The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback.
West Des Moines: American Media Publishing, 1996.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8961 / Fax: (701) 231-9686
Campus address: SGC 102
Physical/delivery address: 1919 University Dr N, Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 3140 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Human Resources/Payroll

Last Updated: Friday, May 29, 2015 8:56:26 AM
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