It's A Two-Way Street: Giving Effective Employee Feedback

Many people mistakenly think that feedback is a "one-way" street.

learn more about Natalie Brown

By Natalie Brown


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Feedback has the power to influence our emotional state- the impact can be either positive or negative, depending on a variety of factors. Of course, any feedback being given, regardless of gender, race, nationality and culture should be factual, objective, timely, based on one's performance, and, of course, non-confrontational.

In this article, I want to share the two types of feedback that l believe can encourage the right performance, and keep employees motivated- these are called "supportive feedback," and "corrective feedback."

Supportive feedback is given when someone is "on the right track" and is meeting your expectations. You tell them what they are doing well in detail, and encourage them to continue. Be specific with the feedback, and make sure it is on the performance, and not the personality.

Corrective feedback is when a person's behavior or performance needs to be corrected to bring them "back on track." Timing is important here, because the other person needs to know what it is that needs to be corrected, as early as possible.

I recently had a client who asked me how she should give feedback to one of her male colleagues about a report they had submitted containing numerous grammatical mistakes. She wanted to be constructive, firm and fair, making sure the feedback was positive, so that her colleague would not make the same mistakes again.

I asked her then how she would start the feedback session. She explained that because she was giving feedback to a male colleague, who can become defensive when receiving feedback from a female colleague, she thought that being direct, with examples of the mistakes, and then making sure that it must never happen again would be the best way forward.

I have known many people who go with this approach, thinking that feedback is a "one-way" street. However, the truth is that it is not. When you have to give feedback, one of the first steps is to ask that person how they felt their performance was.

This encourages self-reflection. If they respond by stating that they felt it was brilliant, break up the performance into smaller sections, asking for their feedback until you get to that stage where the performance needs to be corrected. Asking the right questions will help you to get there quicker.

I explained to my client that in order to get to the exact required behavior or performance, a person needs to go through a number of little changes in behavior to reach the desired outcome. If we wait for a person to get to this state in one go, then we may be waiting a long time.

Related: Infographic: How To Give Constructive Feedback To Your Employees

Natalie Brown

Managing Director, Select Training and Management Consultancy LLC

Natalie Brown’s career began in the academic field in Abu Dhabi at both secondary and tertiary levels and worked her way up to eventually establishing and managing Select Training and Management Consultancy. She understands the importance of developing the younger generations today and ensuring companies setting up or operating in the UAE and wider region also have enough cultural awareness to succeed. After six years as an academic, she joined the corporate world, where she not only delivers her training and consultancy to the highest standards which are memorable, but also paves the way for young GCC nationals to lead and inspire the generations to come.

Related Topics

Growing a Business

Rudy Mawer Shares 10 Ways To 10x Your Business

Learn the tactics needed to exponentially grow your revenue

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Women Entrepreneur™

A Life Well Lived: Sudha Murty, Founder And Chairperson, Infosys Foundation

Insights and inspiration from the Indian educator, author and philanthropist, and the co-founder of the Infosys Foundation.

Growth Strategies

A Guide To The Top Angel Investor Groups in Saudi Arabia

In this article, we have listed some of the most notable and active angel investor groups in Saudi Arabia, in no particular order.


The Importance of Print Media and How It Can Benefit Your Brand

Don't skip out on printed brand materials, you could be missing out on major brand opportunities!

Growth Strategies

"We Got Funded!" Saudi Arabia's First NFT Marketplace Platform Nuqtah Raises A Seed Round Led By Hong Kong-Based Animoca Brands

Nuqhta was founded in 2021 by Salwa Radwi, a photographer, artist, and Web3 and blockchain advocate, and one of the first female founders and CEOs in Saudi Arabia's NFT scape.