When to Give Feedback in a Group and When to Do It One-on-One

Roger Schwarz

Published on the Harvard Business Review website.

If you’re like most leaders, you’re probably reluctant to give an individual feedback in a team meeting. You’ve probably learned to praise in public and criticize in private. You may be concerned that if you give feedback in a group setting, you’ll put that person on the spot, get him or her defensive, make everyone else in the room uncomfortable, and strain the team’s working relationships. That’s why leaders tend to focus on the risks of giving feedback in a team, but miss the risks of inappropriately giving feedback one-on-one.

Giving feedback in the right setting is important. It affects your team’s performance, working relationships and well-being. Here are some guidelines and explanations for when to give feedback in a team setting, and when to offer it one-one one:

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Originally published August 2015