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Providing Effective Feedback – Using the STAR Model

While most managers know that providing effective feedback is an essential management skill, not all managers may be aware of what to include as part of effective feedback. In fact, some managers many avoid providing feedback altogether if it's developmental in nature.


What is effective feedback?

Effective feedback should be specific; it tells your employee what they did or did not accomplish, how they completed their tasks and the effectiveness of their actions. Effective feedback is also timely, in order to reinforce positive actions or provide alternative suggestions early enough that your employee can adjust and enhance their performance. Finally, feedback should be balanced, highlighting the both the employee's strengths and areas for improvement.,


The STAR Model

An easy way to remember the elements of effective feedback is to use the acronym STAR. 

Diagram of STAR model


ST – Situation or Task.  What was the problem, opportunity, challenge or task?

A – Action.  What was said or done to handle the situation or task? Remember to provide developmental feedback and areas for improvement.

R – Result.  What was the impact of the employee's efforts, and how did their actions influence the end result?


Here's an example of using the STAR model to provide positive feedback.

ST – "Thanks for completing the spreadsheet on resource allocation I requested."

A – "You provided all of the data I asked for and got it to me on time."

R – "I was able to bring the data to a planning meeting with our director, where we used it to create a strong resource plan for next term."


Using the STAR Model to Provide Developmental Feedback

At times it's necessary to provide feedback in order to guide a person toward a more effective approach. When you use the STAR model to provide developmental feedback, you should also describe an alternative action – something the person could have done differently – and the result that the alternative action might have produced.

Here is an example of using the STAR model to provide developmental feedback:

ST – "Last week I asked you to complete a spreadsheet on resource allocation."

A – "While you provided all of the data I asked for, I received it two days after I requested, because other priorities came up."

R – "Because the report was late, I had to delay a resource planning meeting with our director, and we weren't able to complete our resource plan for next term."

A – "The next time you're faced with competing priorities, feel free to come to me for further direction."

R – "That way I'll know if you're having challenges completing a request and can help you prioritize your assignments."


Three tips on providing developmental feedback:

  1. Focus on facts, not the person. Choose positively phrased statements, such as "Forgetting to do that caused a delay," rather than saying "You're completely disorganized."
  2. Share your thoughts on alternative approaches while remembering to seek the other person's ideas.
  3. Provide your employee with the necessary support in terms of time, resources or coaching to act on your feedback.


If you'd like further opportunities to hone your skills on providing feedback, check out our Learning Events Calendar for leadership and management workshops.

*Adapted from content from Development Dimensions International