Giving critical feedback doesn’t have to create conflict. Use this worksheet to frame your critique in a healthy and helpful way.

How can you give critical feedback that’s both helpful and healthy?

Giving critical feedback to others is often necessary, especially when we are trying to express our needs or achieve a goal. Withholding important feedback can only build resentment or lead to burnout and crises at work. 

However, this can be a scary experience for those of us who want to avoid conflict or who aren’t used to offering feedback.   

Expressing your expectations or needs is probably not new to you. However, if you haven’t had much practice, you can use the steps below to express your feedback in a helpful and considerate way.

When expressing critical feedback, we want to minimize blame and emphasize a growth mindset. Growth mindset is the attitude that criticism doesn’t have to be a negative judgment about a person’s character, and that positive change is both possible and expected. 

Example: “I feel anxious because I noticed your absence at work these past few days. I’m a little worried that the rest of the team is struggling to pick up the slack. I understand there may be extenuating circumstances at play. How can we make sure you’re able to make it in on time?” 

Who can this help, and how?

This exercise is good for people who have experienced:

  • Depression
  • Anger/resentment
  • Relationship struggles
  • Communication issues
  • Marginalization
  • Boundary issues
  • Interpersonal and workplace conflicts
  • Family dysfunction

These steps are set up to help you communicate critical feedback to people in a way that not only honors your needs and feelings, but that is also respectful and compassionate to the recipient. 

Here are some more tips about giving critical feedback–from real people

A “feedback sandwich” can feel like you’re only saying something nice in order to give your critique. It can make people stop listening, because it can feel less-than genuine. Instead, make sure to regularly give positive feedback when it authentically comes up.

In parting…

Offering critical feedback to another person can, no doubt, be nerve-wracking. However, this worksheet may empower you to confidently express your needs, feelings, and boundaries with others moving forward.