How to Give Feedback in One on One Meetings Like a Pro

July 17, 2022
Shaimaa Badawi
Written By
Shaimaa Badawi

As a manager, giving feedback to your employees is an essential part of the job. When it comes to one on one meetings, you must know how to give feedback constructively and not try to place blame or point out the employee's shortcoming.

This is important to ensure the employee is receptive to your feedback and not take it defensively because one on one meetings are all about helping your employee grow in their career. For this reason, we're going to walk you through the process of giving proper feedback to your employee in one on one meetings to make sure they benefit from it, so let's dive in.

Here's what we'll talk about in this article:

Why is it important to give feedback?

How to give positive feedback

How to give negative feedback


Why is it important to give feedback?

The main purpose of one on one meetings is to increase employee engagement, and learning how to give feedback to your employees goes a long way in making that happen.

Studies show that employees are 30 times more likely to be engaged at work when their managers give them regular feedback.

Whether positive or negative, regular feedback is the best way to celebrate achievements and tackle issues head-on. This allows each employee to develop their skills as they approach their set goals.

It can also positively impact employee retention rates because they're more likely to stick around with proper guidance and a chance to excel in their careers.

It's important to take the time to give credit to your employees when it's due because nothing boosts engagement more than recognition for a job well done. The key is to keep it regular, and you'll surely witness positive results in your company's return on investment.

However, not all managers know when and how to give feedback to their employees. This is why having regular one on one meetings is effective in bringing up the topic naturally. Note that these meetings are about receiving feedback from them as well. 

Asking your employees for feedback makes them feel valued, but make sure to note their suggestions and determine how to improve your management skills.

Providing your insights to your employees is a skill. You may think giving positive feedback is a walk in the park. But to make it count, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Let's take a look at how to give feedback to celebrate an employee's achievement.


How to give positive feedback

1. Use clear statements

When giving feedback to your employees, avoid using generic, vague sentences. Don't mention a general idea of how well the team is doing; instead, talk about the employee's achievement in a specific project.

Mention how far the employee has come in certain areas. For example, if they've shown an improvement in time management and meeting deadlines, tell them how you noticed their work efficiency. Let them know you appreciate them listening to your feedback and acting on them.

This will make your employee understand the importance of receiving feedback constructively and not defensively, and they'll end up benefitting from your comments.


2. Give them credit when it's due

You don't have to wait for quarterly performance reviews to pile all of your positive feedback on your employee. Whenever you see a real change happening, make sure to commend your employee for it.

Maintaining regular one on one meetings reminds you of celebrating each employee's achievements. These little boosts of encouragement and recognition will do wonders in getting your employee engaged and more confident in their work.

You also should keep in mind to only give positive feedback when there's a real achievement or else it will lose its meaning. It's important your employees feel you're genuine about praising their hard work.


3. Commend your employees publicly

Praising your employees in front of the whole team is a great way to celebrate their milestones. This also informs the rest of the team what kind of achievements you're looking for. 

Public praise will not only get the employee excited about maintaining their progress but also motivate other employees to do their best to receive similar recognition.

Remember to only announce positive feedback publicly and keep negative ones between you and the employee.


4. Mention how they contribute to the business

Employees want to know that their hard work contributes to the company's growth. This makes all their efforts meaningful, which is how they claim ownership of their work.

This positively impacts employee engagement and shows how much their work is appreciated by their manager and decision-makers at your company.


When learning how to give feedback to your employees, many managers believe that regular feedback, whether positive or negative, makes them more effective.

We've already established how to give feedback to celebrate achievements, but giving negative feedback is a bumpier road, so let's find out how to do it.


How to give negative feedback

Negative feedback is best given to the employee right after an action or else you'd have to mention it along with your positive feedback.

This is why you should not provide negative comments to your employee in one on one meetings, but it's crucial you learn how to give feedback about your employee's less-than-stellar behavior.

Since it's an uncomfortable feeling to criticize a team member, here are a few tips to help you do it constructively:

1. Set a meeting

Negative feedback should always be given in private. This is why it's best to schedule a meeting with your employee apart from your regular one on one meetings or performance reviews.

Your employee is more likely to be receptive to your critical feedback and it gives you a chance to come up with a solution together. A scheduled meeting also allows you to get in the right mindset of giving this kind of feedback.


2. Focus on the behavior

Avoid placing the blame on your employee by pointing out their shortcomings. Instead, mention how they should have handled a situation differently.

If your feedback felt like an attack, your employee will naturally be defensive and won't think they can improve.

You can also try to ask your employee if something else is going on that made them distracted and prone to make mistakes. This way, they will feel that you care about them and try to better their performance.


➕ You might also want to watch out for these mistakes in one-on-one meetings.


3. Make it timely

It's important to give your critical comments as soon as they happen. If you let your feedback pile up, by the time you talk to your employee, it will lose its effect and they won't be able to correct their behavior right away.

You should also never mix positive with negative feedback, otherwise called the "feedback sandwich," where you give your negative comments "sandwiched" between two positive ones.

According to the Harvard Business Review, "If you give a feedback sandwich, you risk alienating your direct reports." So make sure not to delay your negative feedback to cover them up with a positive one.


4. Let the conversation flow

Your negative feedback should not just be comments given to the employee; let them tell you their side of the story.

The conversation should be about finding the root cause of the problem together and not just telling your employee what to do.

The best way to ensure your employee receives your feedback is to let them take part in the conversation and even ask you questions. This will hold them accountable for their actions and they'll be motivated to do things differently.

➕ Here are 30 questions to ask in one-on-one meetings, pick what's best for the situation and feel free to add your personal touch


5. Determine actionable steps

At the end of your meeting, you should always create specific action items for your employee to follow.

If you want to know how to give feedback properly, you should realize the importance of giving your employee real actionable steps to help them improve their performance. Make sure to follow up on these action items to keep them on the right track.


To conduct effective meetings, you'll probably use a bunch of tools like a scheduling tool, video-conferencing tool, and note-taking app, in addition to various performance-management programs.

💡How about using an all-in-one meeting management platform that will help you conduct your business in an optimized manner?

With, you can schedule your one on one meetings or feedback meetings via Google Calendar, Office 365, or Calendly, have the meeting using one of your favorite tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Webex, set a time for each talking point in the agenda, take private notes during the meeting, and create action items at the end of the meeting, having all these features and more in one place.

Get started on the 14-day free trial right now to facilitate your feedback and one on one meetings.


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Check out this video on how to improve accountability and follow up among your team:


The bottom line

A good manager should learn how to give feedback whether positive or negative to make it count.

While one on one meetings focus on positive feedback and celebrating milestones, feedback meetings should be reserved for giving constructive feedback without mixing positive with negative feedback.

We urge you to take into account the tips outlined in this article to know how to give feedback like a pro. Don't forget to use an all-in-one meeting management platform to optimize your feedback sessions.

Here are a few reasons to choose meeting management platform

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