8 Types of Feedback for Managers and How to Use Them

types of feedback, types of feedback strategies, methods of feedback
Learning Strategies

8 Types of Feedback for Managers and How to Use Them

Feedback is valuable for personal growth and self-improvement. However, it’s crucial to understand when to use different types of feedback. Other types of feedback are suitable for different scenarios and relationships with the provider or recipient. For instance, in a management role, negative feedforward feedback may be used to address undesirable behaviour, while positive reinforcement may be used to encourage future behaviour. This article covers various sources of feedback, workplace types, and four main categories. It also provides practical advice on when to use feedback and offers a complimentary coaching template. Understanding the different types of feedback is essential for effective communication and growth.

What Is Feedback in the Workplace?

Feedback is a crucial tool in any organisation, often occurring in various forms, such as team suggestions, gratitude from the executive team, or discussions with employees. It is essential to recognise that feedback is not inherently negative or harmful but rather a form of support from a caring environment. It can be personally invested in an individual’s progress and development, and with support systems like coaching, it can help release latent human potential. Everyone can provide feedback, and various types of feedback can be given and received. By understanding the different types of feedback and their roles, organisations can better utilise their resources and support systems.

Where Does Feedback Come From?

Feedback can be provided by virtually everyone working within an organisation. Feedback can come from various sources, including consumers, leaders, peers, and staff. Find out more about the many kinds of feedback organisations utilise by reading the following.

  • Peer feedback is when one employee gives feedback to another employee inside the same organisation who is roughly at the same level as the first employee. This critique can be humorous at times, but it can also be brutally honest at other times. 
  • Feedback given by subordinates to their superiors is an example of this sort of employee feedback, which is also referred to as upward feedback. This feedback may include the individual providing an assessment of their performance or an opinion regarding the performance of management.
  • Feedback from superiors. As could be expected, this step requires managers to provide feedback to the employees they supervise. This may take place at a performance review, but it could also take place in a more casual context.
  • Feedback from customers means gathering comments and suggestions from people who the company does not employ. This kind of feedback can be some of the most direct (yet beneficial), as most business owners will attest to you when you ask them.

Types of Feedback

The different types of feedback that managers can give are:

Appreciation Feedback

Leaders who express gratitude through feedback communicate their value to their employees, making it a powerful motivator. This feedback can be brief or in-depth, highlighting the effort put into a task. Specificity is crucial for effective appreciation feedback, as the phrase “well done” loses its significance when used frequently. Including specifics in feedback provides a solid reason for the receiver to feel pleased and creates a more personal connection.

Guidance Feedback

Leaders can use guidance feedback to counsel their employees, delivering kind reprimands without appearing strong or rude. This form of feedback can take the form of suggestions for improvement and can train workers to seek new ways to improve their performance continuously. Leaders who use this type of feedback demonstrate a proper understanding of leadership by guiding followers without pressuring them to conform, illustrating the distinction between a leader and a boss.

Encouragement Feedback

Encouragement feedback is a powerful tool for boosting morale, especially in challenging situations or new employees. It can be delivered in a concise instant message or a quick office conversation, providing a boost that encourages employees to keep working. Even a tiny amount of feedback can significantly impact an individual’s performance.

Forward Feedback

Mistakes are inevitable, but receiving constructive criticism is crucial. Forward-focused feedback focuses on the future rather than past mistakes, helping individuals become better versions of themselves. Leaders recognise that dwelling on past mistakes can lead to less confidence and a negative outlook. Forward feedback provides context and goals for individuals, clarifying the “why” behind business strategies and identifying individual roles. It can also help cultivate behaviours that contribute to new levels of success. Overall, forward feedback is essential for personal growth and success.

Coaching Feedback

The leader will act like a coach when giving feedback and developing winning methods that help people see where they fit on the team. Coaching feedback is more official than some of the other types of feedback we’ve talked about so far. It usually involves regular reviews that include both feedback on how to improve and feedback on what to improve. In the same way, a teacher gets their players excited about playing, leaders can motivate their employees through feedback. This can help them do a better job and avoid doing things that could get in the way of their goals.

Informal Feedback

You can break down any of the above feedback types even more, for example, by giving them more casually. One significant benefit of informal input is that you don’t have to wait for something to happen before giving it. With this type of feedback, things happen more naturally and right away. The event should happen as normal work is being carried out. The Harvard Business Review’s Ed Batista says feedback needs to “show up in everyday life—on a walk down the hallway, at the end of a meeting, over a cup of coffee.”

Formal Feedback

Leaders of businesses, whether they are brand new or have been around for a long time, should make it a habit to give written feedback. This kind of feedback occurs in a more formal setting, like during a job or performance review. In formal feedback, detailed information from an employee’s work is used to give them a fuller picture of how they’re doing. The bosses can check here to see if the employees are meeting their goals and how well they work with others.

Negative Feeback

Negative feedforward is similar to positive feedforward in that it involves people making predictions about the behaviour of others in the future. Conversely, negative feedforward emphasises behaviours that should be avoided or entirely abandoned in the future. When employees receive constructive criticism, it prevents them from developing poor work habits and keeps them on the right path. It may be more successful than critical comments because it is less personal.

How to Give Feedback

To give feedback effectively, consider the purpose of the feedback, whether it’s to change behaviour, fix a problem, or improve a friendship. Start with kindness and understanding as a leader, showing genuine care for the other person’s well-being. Be clear, direct, and concise, ensuring the person has time to absorb the feedback.

Pay close attention to the person you’re giving feedback to, as they may have questions. Listen more than you talk, as it can reveal new insights about their work processes. Actively listen to your workers and show them that you care about their input.

Offer support based on feedback, such as job improvement coaching, workshops, online studies, or follow-up meetings. This can help people understand expectations and answer their questions. Show your support and express your desire for their success, as this will make your workers feel cared for and respected.

Providing feedback effectively requires thoughtful preparation, clear communication, attentive listening, and support. By doing so, you can create a positive and supportive environment for your employees, fostering a sense of care and respect.


Feedback is a valuable tool for personal growth and self-improvement in the workplace. It can come from various sources, such as peers, superiors, subordinates, and customers. Different types of feedback, such as appreciation, guidance, encouragement, forward-focused, coaching, informal, formal, and negative feedback, serve other purposes and can be used in different scenarios. To give feedback effectively, it is essential to be kind, clear, and concise, listen actively, and offer support based on the feedback. By understanding and utilising different types of feedback, organisations can promote effective communication, growth, and success.


What are the main types of feedback?

Feedback is a vital component of personal and professional development, encompassing various types such as appreciation, formal, informal, negative, constructive, destructive, evaluation, performance review, formative, and summative. Each type serves a specific purpose and can be used effectively in different situations. Positive feedback acknowledges an individual’s efforts, while formal feedback is structured and planned. Informal feedback, on the other hand, is spontaneous and can significantly impact the work environment. It’s crucial to choose the right type of feedback based on the context and the individual receiving it.

What are the 3 C’s of feedback?

The three C’s of feedback are Challenge, Criticize, and Compliment. Challenge feedback encourages exploration and problem-solving, Criticism feedback provides constructive criticism, and Complement feedback recognises the effort and rewards good work. Effective feedback includes Clarity, Contextual Meaning, and Composure. Managers should focus on providing specific information, connecting feedback to individual goals, and leveraging emotional intelligence for effective communication.

What is the golden rule of giving feedback?

The golden rule of giving feedback involves providing balanced, continuous, and constructive feedback that is respectful, constructive, and beneficial to the recipient. It consists of recognising positive and negative aspects of an employee’s performance, helping them learn how to receive feedback, giving feedback continuously, assuming positive intentions, and being consistent and timely.

What is the best feedback technique?

Various feedback techniques, such as the AIR Feedback Model, SBI Feedback Model, Forward Technique, Quick Reviews in 1 Minute, and Happiness Door Technique, can provide constructive criticism and feedback. The best technique depends on the context, the relationship between the person giving and receiving feedback, and the specific situation.


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