The 4 Different Types of Feedback and How to Them Effectively

We’ve all received feedback during our performance reviews. Feedback not only engages the employee in the conversation it also spotlights vital issues.

Receiving feedback is an opportunity to grow. However, many people don’t look at feedback this way. People don’t want to be told what they need to improve, which makes giving feedback challenging. 

There are 4 main types of feedback. Learning about these will enable you to give effective feedback.

Depending on whom you’re sharing feedback with and the context, you can use one or more types of feedback.

  • Directive feedback, as the name suggests, is direct and essentially tells someone what to do though that doesn’t mean it is not put “nicely.”
  • Contingency feedback relies on making the person see the consequence. It talks about what can happen.
  • Attribution feedback describes someone or their actions in terms of quality or label.

Impact feedback aims to educate the person about the effect of their actions on others.

Impact feedback is most useful in performance reviews. Typically, this feedback aims to understand the “why” for a particular action. And this is why impact feedback is most likely to be well-received.

Feedback will also be received well if the giver is not authoritative or commanding, and that’s what impact feedback is.Impact feedback is not authoritative and can be a great starting point if you need to get to the authoritative feedback stage.

Whichever type of feedback you choose, remember these 10 mistakes to avoid while sharing feedback.


  • Judging individuals.
  • Sharing vague feedback.
  • Speaking for others in your feedback.
  • Trying to soften negative comments by sandwiching them between positive messages.
  • Exaggerating feedback with generalities.


  • Psychoanalyzing the motives behind the behavior.
  • Lengthy feedback.
  • Sharing implied threats via feedback.
  • Using inappropriate humor.
  • Phrasing feedback as a question.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft

While what Bill Gates says is accurate, as someone who shares feedback, you need to be watchful and customize your feedback to reduce resistance

Points to consider to reduce resistance to feedback

  • Consider the specific situation of the receiver.
  • Remember, everyone processes information differently.
  • Factor in the receiver’s personal situations.
  • Individualize your feedback by considering the receiver’s strengths and weaknesses.


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