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Giving Effective Feedback When You're Short on Time

In today's fast-paced work environment, time is a precious commodity. As leaders, it can often be challenging to find the time to provide effective feedback to our team members. However, giving timely and constructive feedback is crucial for their growth and development.

Today we will explore how we can best go about giving effective feedback when you're short on time and provide detailed examples to help leaders navigate this common challenge.

The Importance of Feedback

Feedback plays a vital role in improving employee performance and fostering a culture of continuous learning. When delivered effectively, feedback helps employees understand their strengths, identify areas for improvement, and enhances their overall job satisfaction and engagement.

Prioritize Key Messages

When time is limited, it is essential to prioritize the key messages you want to convey. Focus on providing feedback that is relevant to the employee's current goals or areas of improvement. For example, if an employee is struggling with time management, prioritize feedback that addresses this specific issue and provides actionable steps for improvement.

Be Direct and Specific

In time-constrained situations, it is crucial to be direct and specific with your feedback. Avoid beating around the bush and get straight to the point. Use clear and concise language to convey your message effectively. For instance, instead of saying, "Your communication skills need improvement," say, "When presenting in team meetings, I noticed that you tend to speak too quickly, which can make it difficult for others to follow."

Offer Solutions and Resources

To make feedback more impactful, provide employees with practical solutions and resources to address the areas they need to work on. This demonstrates your commitment to their growth and development. For example, if an employee is struggling with public speaking, recommend relevant training programs or suggest a mentor who can provide guidance.

Utilize the Feedback Sandwich Method

The feedback sandwich method can be a useful approach when time is limited. Start by delivering positive feedback, then address the areas for improvement, and end with another positive comment or encouragement. This method ensures that constructive feedback is balanced with recognition, maintaining a supportive and motivating environment.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Leveraging technology can streamline the feedback process, especially when time is scarce. Utilize tools such as performance management software or feedback apps to provide quick and efficient feedback. These platforms often offer templates or prompts that can guide your feedback, saving you time while ensuring the message is clear and effective.


Providing effective feedback when time is limited requires a strategic approach. Prioritizing key messages, being direct and specific, offering solutions and resources, utilizing the feedback sandwich method, and leveraging technology can all contribute to delivering impactful feedback in a time-efficient manner. Remember, feedback is a crucial tool for employee growth and development, so it is worth investing the time and effort to ensure it is delivered effectively. By implementing these strategies, leaders can foster a culture of continuous improvement and help their team members thrive.


Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.



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