How To Give Feedback Without Causing Offence

Giving Feedback Without Causing Offence or Defensiveness

1. The Power of Intention

The most important thing to focus on is your intention. If your intention is to genuinely develop that person and help them improve for the good of the company it’s unlikely you will be misunderstood. Any slight hidden agendas/judgments or assumptions will come out in your tone of communication and your body language.

Before giving any feedback we suggest sitting out and planning how you would like the conversation to go, what you would like the outcome to be, and how you would like the person to react. Try and clear your mind of any preconceived judgments and assumptions so that you can keep an open mind and think as positively as possible of the person before giving the feedback.

2. Trust

Ultimately when people trust you they will take your feedback in good faith. If they don’t trust you, they won’t. It may appear that someone trusts you but for some people, they find it very hard to trust others and will lose trust in you easily.

Your team is judging you every single second of every single day. They watch everything you do and say and are testing your congruence. Lots of them want to be in the position that you are in or similar so you are their role model.

The more you can trust others, in turn, the more they will trust you. If you come from a place of assuming most people are trustworthy in the first instance you will have an easier time getting your team to trust you.

Bad experiences can affect your belief and trust in others but when a good employee comes along it will affect your relationship early if you no longer trust people. Extended trust, re-trust, and choosing to trust are better options.

A constant low trust feeling in your business will affect communication between team members and between leaders and slow down operations.

Trust can take years to build and only a second to break but the more you can build trust with your team the more they will be open to your suggestions and feedback and willingness to change.

3. Confidentiality

Always give your feedback in private and not in front of other team members and ideally not in front of other leaders. No one likes to be humiliated and it will only cause resentment and anger. I’ve also seen it result in a complete lack of cooperation on the part of the employee who then goes on to feel very hard done by and complains to the rest of the team. This creates more divisions.

Good luck with your feedback.

Look forward to hearing how you go…

You can be an effective leader. Bring out the best in you and your people through Business Coaching, Leadership Coaching, and Team Training. Hi, I’m Jade Varley, a professional business and leadership coach.

Get in touch with me on 0468 474 995 or send me a message through our Contact Page.

Jade Varley - Brisbane Business and Leadership Coach


Jade Varley is a Certified Leadership and Business Coach and has been in business for 9 years.  She coaches business owners and senior leaders to bring out their best so they can grow and manage their businesses and themselves.