Lab Life Hack: How to Give and Receive Feedback Effectively

Jun 20, 2018

One of the critical skills of leadership is to provide employees with feedback. Constructive feedback is the jewel of growth and can help propel someone forward in their career. How the message is delivered is just as important as the feedback itself. Hear from an ASCP pathologist, laboratory professional and a resident on their thoughts about giving and receiving feedback.


“When giving feedback, I try to follow the guiding principles that feedback should be:

  • Specific and actionable.
  • Timely. Mid-rotation feedback, allowing for improvement during the rotation, is better than just end-of-rotation feedback. Formal written evaluations should never contain “surprises.”
  • Professional. Never disparage someone’s character. If someone feels insulted, he/she will not pay attention to even useful feedback, and the purpose of the exercise is not achieved.
  • Explicit. Sometimes what you think is feedback is not interpreted as such by the person receiving it. It can be helpful to start with “I’d like to give you some feedback.”

Receiving feedback is challenging at any stage of one’s career. We all feel that we work hard and do a good job, so hearing criticism can make us defensive. I strive to emulate the admirable individuals who can look at even unprofessional and not-so-constructive feedback, take a step back, and still glean something useful from it.”

Kruti P. Maniar, MD, FASCP

Laboratory Professional

“Nobody wants to be a “know it all,” but passing along your opinion to someone can propel them to make positive changes in their technique or career. Nonetheless, the way in which you convey your criticism can make all the difference in how the person receives it. Therefore, be mindful of not what you say, but how it comes across; always put yourself in the others person’s shoes.

On the other hand, “If you’re going to dish it, you must be willing to take it.” Constructive feedback is the jewel of growth. In order to be the best at your career, fine tuning your craft is a necessity.  Therefore, always have a positive outlook on criticism that is being given.”

Tiffany Channer, MPH, MLS(ASCP) CM



“Many of my mentors in the past have told me constructive criticism is the best feedback you can get and the best type of feedback you can give. This was realized when attending a new medical school where your feedback about lectures, professors, small group sessions, clinical rotations, and everything in between is asked. It was important for me to learn good feedback skills to ensure my qualms about my education did not seem whiny or too negative.

Constructive criticism, along with positive attributes of the subject of the feedback is imperative.  To me, this means to take a negative quality and state at least two different ways this can be improved.  It allows both the receiver to know specific ways to improve, and the deliverer of the feedback to think about why they feel an action, situation, or attitude is not appropriate and think about what would be appropriate instead of the current status quo.” 

Erica Vormittag, MD