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Easing Stress at Work: Little known ways to give Constructive Feedback

Organisations are like systems and each part of the system is essential to the harmonious working of the whole. Another essential part of any system is feedback.

There’s Internal and External Feedback; the former is within ourselves in the form of tiredness, guilt, dizziness, joy- dependent on our activity and how well we’ve been taking care of ourselves, the latter is what we give to and receive from others.

For example, I went to a dentist and they were so courteous and professional and it was important that I let them know how impressed I was at the quality of customer service I received. The bottom line is that feedback can make the difference between our success and failure- on a personal as well as professional level. Feedback can positively influence productivity; acting on feedback will ensure we continue to grow (rather than remain stagnant).


Constructive feedback is useful on many levels: it is direct and instant and it provides opportunity for conversation about what is working well or not so well and how it can be improved.

Of course this is dependent on the recipients’ maturity to deal with the feedback.

It can be easier to accept positive rather than negative feedback, but if we seek to improve- especially in the work environment must get over this in order to improve our customer service and working relationships.

I always ask for feedback on the workshops I facilitate and when I first began, the feedback could be hard to read and accept, but after responding to the feedback, and asking for permission to know more about how to improve, I find I now receive glowing feedback which encourages me. Such is the value of  feedback from my workshop attendees that I have sought professional assistance to design effective evaluation forms which I use to capture their  experiences.

Feedback is really about supporting and encouraging one anothers’ growth. It is essential for effective teamwork- and indeed, the test of a strong team is the extent to which members can freely give and receive constructive feedback. This is a skill and it is one that is easily developed; like most things, it just takes practice.

So when giving feedback:

  • Centre yourself, ground yourself; feel the ground beneath your feet or the chair you’re sitting on. Breathe calmly, relax the shoulders.
  • Align yourself with your own values (what would it give you to share this feedback? E.g. a sense of relief, opportunity to share your feelings, etc) the positive intention of giving the feedback (e.g. to be able to move forward and reach a common understanding). This enriches the experience of giving and receiving the feedback for all parties concerned.

By supporting others, we nurture ourselves and the whole system grows.

Also it is a sure way of releasing stress. Imagine having something to say and not feeling able or knowing how to ‘get it off your chest’. The situation festers and grows. And with this, so does frustration. By following the tips above, if you find there are times when you struggle to give constructive feedback, you’ll find yourself better able to share your opinions and values, and this will be an indicator to others of what you stand for; your values and principles. And this commands respect from others: people can be clear where the boundaries lie where you’re concerned leading to better understanding and smoother working relationships.

Afterall, as I see it, if we are fortunate enough to have a voice, we may as well share our opinions!

Let me know your experiences of giving and receiving feedback- tricky, difficult, even surprising situations. It’s likely your experiences might be of help to others and vice versa.

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