De Bruyne impressed on his return to City's starting line-up against Leipzig, pulling the strings in their seven-goal victory and powering home a sensational long-range effort.
Guardiola had called on his star midfielder to get back to basics this week amid a slight dip in form, and Ferdinand believes he responded in the best way possible.
He said while discussing De Bruyne's performance on BT Sport: 'Even the best players need a little jolt from the manager, sometimes you do need that conversation and nudge.
'The best players don't sulk and [they] go "right, you know what I'm up for that challenge."
'You know when you're not playing well, but sometimes you need a jolt to the reason and the manager says this is what you need to do and you go in fresh in your mind. All of a sudden the shackles are off.'
Former City defender Nedum Onuoha echoed Ferdinand's assessment of De Bruyne on the night, while also branding his late strike 'the cherry on top of the cake'.
'KDB wasn't too bad was he,' Onuoha added. 'He was spectacular.
'People have been critical but he was very direct today. The goal was the cherry on top of the cake and was a deserved reward. Making good decisions and good plays, that's an unbelievable finish.'