Learning Task 3: Describe the Procedures for Giving and Receiving Feedback

The ability to give and receive feedback is integral to a healthy working relationship. Feedback is intended to provide information and observations about an individual’s work behaviour or performance and can be positive and/or negative. All too often feedback is perceived as negative and associated with criticism. However, if given in the right way and at the right time, feedback can be highly beneficial for both the giver and the receiver.

Sending Messages

If half of communication is listening, the other half is speaking and expressing thoughts and feelings in a clear way. Sending effective messages includes both verbal communication (the words you use) and non-verbal communication (body language).

One woman works at a workbench while the offer points to offer suggestions.
Figure 3.1 Giving and receiving feedback includes being aware of body language and facial expressions.

Effective feedback should let the receiver know which behaviour or performance is desired, and which is not. It should allow both the giver and the receiver the opportunity to ask questions and get further clarification, and it can result in discussions that can benefit both parties.

Effective feedback can also lead to advice or recommendations on how to handle an issue or situation better in the future.

As an apprentice, you should receive a lot of feedback from your employer, supervisor, co- workers, and even clients. You’ll get feedback on the job site, and if you work for a larger company, you may also have a performance review that will provide you with feedback.  Feedback on your work will allow you to assess your strengths and weaknesses and make adjustments as necessary to improve where needed.  Feedback, when provided correctly, is an invaluable tool to your growth as an apprentice.  Should you not be receiving any feedback, take the initiative to ask your employer or co-workers to comment on your performance.

Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is feedback aimed at collaboratively improving the overall performance of an individual or quality of a service. It often includes suggestions for positive change or improvement.

Guidelines for Giving Feedback

The following are general guidelines on how to give feedback:

  • Relax and take a few deep breaths if you are anxious.
  • Remain respectful and calm at all times. If you are angry or unable to control your emotions, wait until you have calmed down.
  • Remember that feedback is both positive and negative. Make sure the information you convey does not focus only on only one or the other.
  • Provide the feedback in an appropriate location. Negative feedback should be given in private space without interruption. Providing negative feedback in front of others is inappropriate.
  • Put your feedback into context, particularly if it is negative. This will help the receiver understand the points you are making.
  • If you notice that the receiver is distressed, slow down, take a short break, or reschedule the discussion if necessary.
  • Allow the receiver the opportunity to answer or ask questions and provide their own input. This will require active listening on the part of the giver.
  • Focus on the issues and not the person. Giving constructive criticism is important but should never be made to feel personal.  It is important to recognize that even though you are not intending on making the feedback personal that some people will still take it that way.  You should be prepared to address this, as conflict may arise from this miscommunication.
  • Provide feedback at the appropriate time so that an employee or co-worker can address the issues. Don’t stockpile the feedback or criticism and unload it void of context. It is far better to address issues as they occur so that frustrations cannot build, and memories are fresh.
  • Make sure that it is within your purview to provide the feedback.
  • Ensure that you are not only giving negative feedback. While it is necessary to give constructive criticism, it is also important to recognize the positive accomplishments of others.  If you are consistently giving negative feedback and never give positive feedback it can be hard for others to know whether you believe they are successful.  Acknowledging the accomplishments of others when appropriate lets them know they are a valuable member of the team.

Guidelines for Receiving Feedback

The following are general guidelines on how to receive feedback:

  • Relax and take a few deep breaths if you are anxious.
  • Actively listen to what is being said. Ask questions or for clarification if required at the appropriate time.
  • Remain respectful at all times. If you are angry or unable to control your emotions, wait until you are calm to respond or ask questions.
  • Remember that feedback is both positive and negative. Acknowledge the feedback by paraphrasing it and asking for clarification on any points if necessary.
  • Take responsibility for your role. Acknowledge any errors you have made or situations that could have been handled better. Ask for advice on how to handle these situations better in the future.
  • If you disagree with the assessment, be assertive, not aggressive. Clearly address the issues.

Self-test icon.Now complete the Learning Task Self-Test.


Self-Test 3

  1. Which of the following is essential for giving and receiving feedback?
    1. Effective listening
    2. Healthy working and personal relationships
    3. All of the above
    4. None of the above
  2. What does effective feedback help the receiver of the information do?
    1. Know what behaviour or performance is acceptable or not acceptable.
    2. Know about their work performance and have the ability to ask questions for further clarification
    3. All of the above
    4. None of the above
  3. As an apprentice, from whom will you receive feedback?
    1. Your direct supervisor only
    2. Your employer, supervisor, and co-workers
    3. Your employer, supervisor, co-workers, and clients
    4. Your direct supervisor and their superior or human resources
  4. What is the purpose of constructive criticism?
    1. To let you down easily when you make a mistake
    2. To improve your performance or the quality of service
    3. To keep track of what you have done well and advise your supervisor
    4. To keep track of the problems you’ve had and go through them with you at a meeting
  5. Most people find it easy to give and receive effective feedback or constructive criticism.
    1. True
    2. False
  6. Which of the following is not a step used in giving effective feedback?
    1. Remain calm at all times.
    2. Put the feedback into context.
    3. Focus on the person and not the issue.
    4. Remember to give both positive and negative feedback.
  7. Which of the following is not a step used for receiving feedback or constructive criticism?
    1. Listen to what is being said.
    2. Keep your emotions in check and remain respectful at all times.
    3. Ask questions or for advice on how the issue can be handled better in the future.
    4. Be prepared and challenge the speaker on everything that you do not believe is correct.
  8. Feedback on your work will allow you to:
    1. Understand that this is the wrong career path for you
    2. Make adjustments as necessary to improve
    3. Make your foreperson feel superior
    4. None of the above
  9. Constructive criticism should be:
    1. Personal
    2. Confrontational
    3. Passive
    4. None of the above
  10. It is important to give constructive criticism in a timely manner to prevent frustration from building.
    1. True
    2. False

See the Answer Key in the back matter of the textbook for self-test answers.

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