G is for growth-oriented: As big fans of Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset, we believe that great constructive feedback starts with an orientation towards growth; more specifically a belief that giving feedback is helping others grow, and getting feedback is helping yourself grow.
R is for real: Be real and don’t be fake. Kim Scott’s explanation of Ruinous Empathy vs. Radical Candor is a great read. Sugar-coating constructive feedback usually leads to the other person seeing through the fluff or not getting the message.
E is for empathetic: We might all want more constructive feedback, but viscerally it’s still hard. A simple exercise of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes will go a long way in making this a constructive and great experience.
A is for ask [coming soon]: End with a specific, concrete, and actionable ask. We really like the idea of feedforward from Marshall Goldsmith in this regard. Even when giving the past context to inform the ask, the idea is that it’s best to focus on the ideal outcome that you want from your coworker in the future.
T is for timely [coming soon]: Feedback should be provided as close to the time that the specific behavior occurs. Study after study has shown that we learn best by being caught in action. Also this ensures that feedback happens frequently, making it less awkward.