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A 3-word formula that makes giving feedback easier

by Jim Morris

Giving employees feedback doesn’t have to be the time-consuming, energy-sucking, emotionally-uncomfortable experience that managers’ fear. In fact, studies show that more feedback in smaller doses works better for everyone than the traditional check-in meetings that so many bosses default to.

Now, there are two keys—along with practice—that are necessary to keep in mind whenever you give constructive criticism. The best feedback is short and to the point, and it includes something the employee can use to do their work better, now.

Wondering how to be brief and helpful? Just remember this three-word formula: Job-Extra-Annoying.


Start the session with your view of how the employee is doing at completing the tasks associated with their job description. Touch on the things they are expected to do, day-after-day. (Note: This is the only part of the feedback process that is mandatory, the next two categories are optional, depending on what’s most relevant.)


This stands for extra effort. Make note of any special things they’ve done above and beyond their daily job responsibilities (assuming that applies).


If need be, finish with making note of any annoying or problematic behaviors associated with their work that you’ve noticed. Of course, you’re not going to use the word “annoying.”

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