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12 Feedback Examples To Give to Coworkers (Positive and Constructive)

Feedback is an intricate art form. But when you do it well, you can create deeper bonds with your coworkers, contribute to an energizing team culture, and build a more efficient workplace.

Here’s a quick rule for giving feedback:

Positive comment


Constructive comment


Future hope or optimistic promise

It sounds like:

I have loved your recent work on Project X.


We have to talk about deadlines. The client loves the work but needs it faster.


I have some ideas on how we can hit our deadlines and keep the amazing quality of work you are bringing.

This is your quick help. Let’s go further so you know how to GIVE and TAKE coworker feedback. In this guide, we’ll break down different types of positive and constructive feedback, address common obstacles to giving feedback, and provide actionable steps for receiving feedback gracefully.

Let’s make you a feedback pro that uplifts your team and enhances your company culture!

6 Types of Positive Feedback and How to Deliver Each

Giving positive feedback to your colleagues motivates them to do better work and boosts their confidence. And it’ll make you feel better! It’s a win-win all around. 

Here are several types of feedback you can consider giving to your teammates.

Bringing attention to team-building moments

Have you ever seen a colleague say the right thing in a team meeting to get everyone on the same side? Or to turn a moment of chaos into one of clarity?

Pointing this out makes someone feel appreciated and doubly encourages the rest of the team. 

Recognizing a teammate’s contribution will boost team morale and inspire others to help the team in their way. This can create an upward spiral of collaboration and mutual support.

When to give this feedback: If you choose to provide this type of feedback, try sharing it at the end of the meeting.

Sample feedback: “Before we close, I just want to give some props to Jane. When you stepped in and mediated that conflict earlier in the meeting, I thought it helped get us back on track.”

Feedback is one crucial professional skill. And if you want to up your entire professional toolkit, you might appreciate this free goodie: 

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Validating ideas

Got a coworker who’s an idea machine? Validate their talents. It encourages more creative thinking and keeps those brilliant ideas flowing.

Sharing your appreciation can foster a collaborative relationship where they help you through your stuck moments with their genius ideas.

When to give this feedback: Any time you feel genuinely appreciative or inspired by their ideas. Just stop by their desk or even shoot them a Slack message that tells them how you feel.

Sample feedback: “I loved your idea about streamlining our workflow. Seriously, that could be a game-changer. You have a gift for coming up with inventive ideas.”

Encouraging someone through a tough time

We’ve all been there: Life throws a curveball, and suddenly, work feels like an uphill battle. When you see a coworker navigating choppy waters, your support can be their much-needed lifeboat. 

Whether they’re going through a work project with a brutal client or their personal life has been hectic, your words can go a long way.

Plus, positive feedback can help someone unearth more creativity when stress levels are high at work.

When to give this feedback: Catch a private 1-on-1 moment when work doesn’t feel hectic or high-pressure.

Sample feedback: “Hey Paul, I know you’ve been going through a tough patch recently, and I just want to tell you that I see you. You’ve been putting in some awesome work and inspiring the rest of the team. Keep at it, and let me know if I can support you in any way.”

Acknowledging a teammate’s unseen work

Everyone loves a shoutout for the big, flashy wins, but the day-to-day grind and less visible tasks keep the wheels turning. 

Think about how nice it feels at home to be noticed, acknowledged, and appreciated for the extra care you put into cleaning the kitchen. The same goes for work.

Acknowledging these unseen efforts or when someone goes the extra mile can boost morale and show your coworker that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Studies even show1 that expressing gratitude makes people feel valued.

When to give this feedback: This can be done during team meetings for public appreciation or privately during one-on-one check-ins, depending on what you feel would resonate most with your coworker.

Sample feedback: “Hey, I noticed you stayed late to organize the project files. That kind of attention to detail helps the whole team, even if it’s not as visible. Please know that your extra effort and dedication are appreciated!”

Appreciating their character or personality

Studies suggest2 that the most meaningful compliments are those related to someone’s character, as opposed to their appearance, skills, or possessions. So, telling someone you appreciate their tenacity will go much further than telling them you admire their spreadsheet abilities, purse, or haircut.

When to give this feedback: Anytime, honestly. Even in passing, it can create a moment of openness and connection.

Sample feedback: “Hey Eric, just real quick, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your positive attitude. I feel like you fill every space you enter with optimism, and I’m glad to be around your energy.”

Encouraging more good behavior

This principle is the same in friendships, partnerships, and work relationships. Positive reinforcement encourages more of the same positive behavior. 

It’s primitive, but it works. If you want your dog to put its paw in your outstretched hand, give it a biscuit each time it does the task. If you love when your partner gives you a massage, give them generous acknowledgment each time they think to squeeze your neck. And if you feel grateful that your coworker led the meeting with such precision, let them know!

When to give this feedback: Give the appreciation soon after observing the behavior you want to encourage. It could be during a team meeting, a quick chat in the break room, or over email.

Sample feedback: “I noticed how you helped onboard the new hires and created a welcoming atmosphere. I just wanted to tell you that it was awesome! Keep it up :-)”

6 Types of Constructive Feedback and How to Deliver Each

Giving constructive feedback is one of the tricker communication skills. Let’s break down six types of constructive feedback and how to ace each delivery.

As a rule of thumb, asking permission before giving someone else constructive criticism is best. This allows them to opt into the conversation and emotionally prepare themselves.

Preventing a coworker from taking a wrong approach

Sometimes, even well-intentioned strategies fall flat. If you see your coworker taking an approach to a project that seems like it’s not getting results, then a gentle nudge can help them reconsider their direction without feeling attacked.

When to give this feedback: One-on-one and after the event in question. The setting should be private and non-confrontational.

Sample feedback: “Hey Sam, I have some feedback on this project. Would you be open to hearing it? … the new approach you’ve been trying has some interesting concepts, but I noticed it hasn’t been getting the desired results. I’m curious what you think and if you’d be open to modifying the strategy we’re going with?”

Burning resources

When you see resources going down the drain (time, money, you name it), it’s crucial to address it. It benefits everyone in the long run.

One common place is a work culture with too many meetings or meetings that drone on too long without relevance or money allocated to expensive and unnecessary tools.

When to give this feedback: In a private setting or during a relevant team meeting, after an instance where resource wastage was noticeable.

Sample feedback: “Hey Tina, can I share feedback about our team meetings? Our meetings take 90 minutes, but we can achieve everything in 60 minutes. We could all benefit from 30 more minutes of productive work time. I have a few ideas on how to make the meetings tighter. Are you open to brainstorming?”

Addressing dependability issues

Reliability is key in any work setting. If someone’s falling short, it affects the whole team’s mojo.

When to give this feedback: One-on-one. Choose a moment when both of you have time to chat without distractions.

Sample feedback: “Hey Barb, can I share some feedback? … I noticed you’ve been running late on a few projects. And it’s throwing the whole team’s timing off a bit. I was wondering how your process has been going?”

Suggesting areas for improvement

This type of feedback is so valuable and also so rare! None of us can see ourselves. But our peers see how we perform day in and day out. They can see where we show up firm and notice our blind spots.

When you help your coworkers see some of their blind spots, you can help them grow into their best professional selves. Pinpointing areas for improvement provides a roadmap for growth.

People want to improve and are more open to this type of feedback than you might think.

When to give this feedback: Share this sentiment in a one-on-one setting.

Sample feedback: “Hey Arnold, I noticed your productivity has been on fire recently. I was also thinking about it and noticed some ways you could be even more effective. Would you be open to hearing them? … The main thing I see is that sometimes your copywriting can come off as dry in certain places. If you could bring some metaphor in, it would take your work to the next level.”

Sharing an “emotional ouch.”

When we’re in close quarters with other humans, our personalities rub against each other. And sometimes you get pricked. A coworker will frustrate you, hurt your feelings, or say something that burns your confidence. It happens.

If the emotional “ouch” is big enough, our connection with that coworker will likely feel strained and uncomfortable until we clear the air. 

In these cases, to maintain a respectful and pleasant workplace, if someone’s behavior has hurt you emotionally, it’s crucial to address it.

When you give this type of feedback, it can be helpful to preface it to strengthen your bond and help prevent them from becoming defensive.

When to give this feedback: As soon as possible, but in a private, one-on-one setting.

Sample feedback: “Hi Helga, I felt uncomfortable in the meeting earlier. I wanted to share it with you because it will help our relationship feel more open and smooth. Would you be open to hearing it? … During the meeting, I pitched an idea that was pretty vulnerable for me, and you didn’t address it and changed the topic to something else. It might not have been your intention, but I felt hurt and rejected when that happened.”

Speaking up about boundary violation

Setting boundaries is key to maintaining a healthy work environment for everyone. It can be uncomfortable to set boundaries, but if a coworker consistently tramples over a limit that feels important to you, neglecting to say something will leave you feeling disempowered. 

Years ago, I worked in retail, and one of my coworkers was always playfully flirting with me, and one time grabbed me in a way I didn’t like. I knew he didn’t mean any harm by it and was just being flirtatious. However, the encounter left me feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. So, after our shift ended, I stopped him outside and told him so. I asked him if he’d be comfortable asking me before engaging in touch in the future. 

Admittedly, he did retract from our relationship after this. But it was far better than the alternative of me feeling continually disempowered, uncomfortable, and placating toward him.

When to give this feedback: In private, shortly after the incident, to ensure it’s fresh in both parties’ minds.

Sample feedback: “Hey Sid, something came up earlier that I want to share. Do you have a quick minute? … When you used my desk earlier without asking me, I felt uncomfortable. My desk feels like a private space, and it felt like you had stepped inside my personal bubble. In the future, if you’d like to use my desk, would you mind asking first?”

5 Common Fears of Giving Feedback and How to Overcome Them

Giving feedback can be scary! If the feedback is constructive, we might fear how the other person will take it.

But even giving positive feedback can be scary. Studies suggest3 that 90% of people believe they should give compliments more often. In another experiment, when people wrote a compliment about a friend on paper, only 50% shared it with their friend!

The reality is that feedback is a form of intimacy in its way. And intimacy of any kind is scary for most of us.

Here are some of the most common fears or resistances that prevent people from giving feedback and tips on overcoming each hurdle.

Fear of conflict

This is a biggie for so many of us. You might be worried that giving feedback will bring up conflict, disagreement, or uncomfortable feelings that could damage your relationship with the team member.

So many of us avoid conflict like it’s the plague. But, studies suggest4 that embracing conflict in the workplace helps with team-building, finding new ideas, and critical thinking. 

So, how can you overcome this fear?

Pro Tip: It’s okay to be afraid of conflict. But if you can find a perspective that sees the value in conflict, then it will help you dramatically. Before your feedback conversation, it might help to journal on the following:

How will giving this feedback make our relationship feel healthier? How will it help me feel more empowered? How might embracing conflict help our teamwork?

Fear of upsetting the other person

You also might be afraid to enter a feedback space because you dread seeing a hurt look on their face and fear you’ll upset them.

Pro Tips: First, it could help to take on the perspective that if you give your feedback with good intentions, then whatever emotions come up in the other person are not your fault. 

Many of us fear upsetting others because we assume we are responsible for their feelings. But see if you can embrace the perspective that your feedback is an effort to be authentic and honest and that the impact this has on the other person is theirs to manage.

When you deliver your feedback, you could also try this feedback template below:

  • Tell them you have feedback for them and ask if they’re open to hearing it. This allows them to brace themselves and feel like they’ve opted in.

“Hi Steve, something came up earlier, and I was wondering if you’d be open to receiving some feedback?”

  • Tell them the positive intention of your feedback. You should create more connections or help them become better workers. But if they know your positive intentions, they’ll likely receive better feedback.

“I want you to know that I want to give this feedback because I’ve been feeling awkward in our connection recently, and I think I need to share this to feel more connected with you again.”

  • See if you can start with an authentic appreciation or positive feedback. This can create a space of connection and positivity.

First, I appreciate that you always seek opportunities to mentor people. And I can see how big your heart is.”

  • Then, offer your constructive feedback.

“Though I feel like every time we have a conversation, you are putting your teacher hat on. And sometimes, I want to share something without getting advice on it. For example, yesterday, when I told you that my mom was sick, you gave me advice on how to stay strong. I didn’t feel I needed advice; I just wanted a listening ear.”

  • Then, ask how it landed and give them space to process if they’d like.

“I’m curious how that landed?”

Fear of the emotional vulnerability that is required in sharing an appreciation

To give praise, positive feedback, or appreciation to a coworker can be scary because you are essentially opening your heart to them. 

Not all of us have much experience being sentimental, so even small compliments can be scary! It can help to keep in mind the positive impact of your words.

One study3 compared how impactful someone thought their positive feedback would be to a recipient and how impacted the recipient felt. 

The feedback givers consistently underestimated how impactful their positive feedback would be! Many of them even estimated the recipient might feel uncomfortable getting appreciated or complimented when, in actuality, the compliment tended to brighten the recipient’s day.

Pro Tip: Remember, vulnerability usually breeds deeper connections. The best thing you can do is remember that sharing your positive feedback will likely make the other person feel better. See if you can anchor yourself to that intention to give you courage.

Fear of retaliation

Another common fear is that your coworker might hold a grudge, which could negatively impact your work relationship.

While it’s true that some people may become defensive and react this way no matter what, there are a few communication techniques you can put forth to increase the odds that the conversation goes smoothly.

Pro Tips: First, focus your feedback on their behavior and not on them as a person. Separating these two will help them avoid taking your feedback personally.

It will also make it so you can take a step back and look at the behavior in question together. 

This brings us to the second tip: approach the feedback from a team mentality. When you give the input, imagine you are on the same team as them. You can then take a step back and problem-solve together as a team.

Fear of saying the wrong thing

You might also feel anxious about blurring something inappropriate or offensive. Your feedback will come out like messy spaghetti, and your lack of grace will ruin everything.

First, don’t worry! No feedback conversation will be perfect. You can increase the likelihood of speaking with clarity and give effective feedback with the tip below.

Pro Tip: Write down your points beforehand and rehearse them if necessary. This way, you can come into the conversation as prepared as possible. 

5 Tips for Receiving Difficult Feedback Like a Pro

Receiving difficult feedback is something we all have to navigate at some point, but knowing how to handle it can set you apart as a true professional. 

Below are some best practices for turning challenging critiques into opportunities for growth.

Listen before you speak

When receiving feedback, our first instinct is often to get defensive or even interrupt to clarify our stance.

It’s okay to have that impulse—it happens to almost everyone!

Pro Tip: Hold that thought. Do your best to let the other person finish speaking before you jump in. 

Before responding with your side, ask questions to ensure you’ve completely understood what they shared.

Keep your emotions in check

Sometimes, critical feedback can sting. We all want to be seen as competent, so receiving feedback can feel like a smack to the ego. 

This can bring up all sorts of emotions, from anger to insecurity.

Pro Tip: Once they’ve finished giving you the feedback, say, “Thank you for the feedback.” Then, take three deep breaths before responding. You can even say, “Just give me a moment while I soak that in.”

If you can keep your emotions in check and continue the conversation civilly and constructively, proceed. If your emotions feel loud and like they’d take over the conversation if you kept going, you can tell your colleague that you appreciated the feedback greatly and want a day or two to mull it over before connecting further about it. Once you privately process your emotions, you can continue the conversation with them.

Ask for specifics

While it can be uncomfortable, feedback is also gold. This person is giving you vital information about how you can grow professionally.

See if you can gather all the insight and data about what they tell you.

“You need to do better” is as useful as a screen door on a submarine. You need actionable input to make real changes.

Pro Tip: Tell them you want to make the most of their feedback and ask for specific examples or situations where you fell short and what you could’ve done better. The more detailed the feedback, the more you can learn from it.

Reflect before reacting

It’s tempting to come up with an immediate response or explanation for the feedback you received. It’s easy to be defensive and to turn yourself to steel, so their feedback bounces right off you.

But could there be an ounce of truth to what they shared?

Pro Tip: Take some time to mull their feedback over. I could even sleep on it. If you feel defensive, challenge yourself to find something true or useful in what they shared. 

Turn it into a dialogue

Receiving feedback is a two-way street. It should be the beginning of a dialogue that leads to improvement on both ends. Hopefully, the feedback is the beginning of an ongoing conversation.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve had time to reflect, schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss your thoughts and potential solutions. Check in to see if they feel like you’ve responded to the feedback. This shows that you’re proactive and genuinely interested in improving.

Frequently Asked Questions About Coworker Feedback

What is coworker feedback, and why is it important in the workplace?

Coworker feedback refers to exchanging information, opinions, and assessments regarding work performance or behavior between colleagues. It is important to enhance individual skills, foster team collaboration, and boost workplace efficiency. Just saying “good work” or recognizing an achievement can go a long way.

How do I give constructive feedback to my coworkers without causing conflict?

To give constructive feedback without causing conflict, it’s crucial to focus on the behavior or action rather than the person and deliver it discreetly and respectfully. Being specific, timely, and open to dialogue can minimize misunderstandings and negative reactions.

What are some effective strategies for receiving feedback from coworkers positively?

Effective strategies for receiving feedback positively include actively listening without interruption, asking clarifying questions, and refraining from immediate judgment or defensiveness. Taking the time to understand the feedback and then formulate an actionable plan fully can lead to personal and professional growth. And doing so can contribute to a positive feedback culture for your whole team.

How can coworker feedback contribute to personal and professional growth?

Coworker feedback can identify areas for improvement and reinforce good behavior, thereby serving as a tool for personal and professional development. Peer feedback provides valuable external perspectives you might need to be aware of, aiding in skill development and performance enhancement.

Are there different approaches to giving feedback to coworkers based on their personalities or work styles?

Yes, the approach to giving feedback can vary based on individual personalities and work styles. Some people may appreciate direct, no-nonsense advice, while others require a more empathetic, gradual approach.

How do I handle negative feedback from a coworker without getting defensive?

Handling negative feedback without getting defensive involves active listening, keeping emotions in check, and considering the validity of the input. Taking a step back to evaluate how the feedback can be constructively used for improvement is also beneficial.

What role does coworker feedback play in team collaboration and overall workplace performance?

Coworker feedback is instrumental in team collaboration and overall workplace performance because it fosters open communication, builds trust, and helps identify strengths and weaknesses within the team. It’s immensely valuable to acknowledge accomplishments or help someone see their blind spots. Giving and receiving feedback can make you an all-star team player.

Takeaways on Coworker Feedback

While feedback can be tricky, you will do great with it. Just remember, here are some types of positive feedback:

  • Bringing attention to team-building moments
  • Validating ideas
  • Encouraging someone through a tough time
  • Acknowledging unseen work
  • Appreciating someone’s character
  • Encouraging good behavior

Here are a few types of constructive feedback:

  • Preventing a coworker from taking the wrong approach
  • Calling out the wasting of time or money
  • Addressing a lack of dependability
  • Suggesting an area of improvement
  • Sharing an “emotional ouch.”
  • Speaking up a boundary

Best of luck in your feedback journey! And if you have a toxic coworker, where your feedback would get crumpled into a ball and thrown right back in your face, you might appreciate this guide on dealing with toxic coworkers.

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