The best way to provide constructive feedback in the workplace is through specific examples.
Jacqueline works on a branding team for a small company. She and her teammates develop and create marketing materials that impact how the company interacts with customers. She notices a pattern when she sits down with her boss for weekly one-on-ones. Every time her boss gives her instructions, she flies through details she wants Jacqueline to work on for the week. Instead of walking through the items slowly, she throws out project after project without giving Jacqueline time to write down what needs to be completed.
When Jacqueline leaves her boss’s office, she never has a complete grasp of her work. This misunderstanding causes Jacqueline to ask her boss questions every day and leads to interruptions and delays on projects.
Ultimately, Jacqueline wants to tell her boss that she wants slower instructions and a better understanding after their one-on-one meetings. Instead of saying, “You need to give me better instructions,” here is a great way for Jacqueline to bring up her concerns to her boss in their next meeting:
“I noticed that I leave our meetings without a full understanding of the details of my work every week. For example, last week when I worked on the rebranding of the company logo I didn’t catch all of the details that you wanted to be included because we flew through the instructions in 30 seconds. I ended up taking more of your time throughout the week by interrupting you every few hours. Can we do a better job of taking our time through weekly projects so I have a better understanding and I am not interrupting you during the week over things we already discussed?”
This approach brings feedback to Jacqueline’s boss’s attention and shows a clear example of where this came into play. Instead of just sharing that she wants to go slower through instructions, Jacqueline provided a specific example of how her boss can improve. On top of sharing a real occurrence, the feedback example speaks to how it can directly help her boss through fewer interruptions.
You could tell your boss that you want more work to do or share a different way to run team meetings, but giving feedback is better with specific examples. If you want more projects to work on, come up with examples of things other people are doing that you want to accomplish. If you have a suggestion for the structure of team meetings, share how a specific meeting was an ineffective use of time because there was no preparation on the front end.
The more consistent you are in communication, the easier it is for feedback to raise organically. Be specific when being constructive and come with an idea for how to move forward.