Feedback – Trick? or Treat?

Dianne Ward image
by Dianne Ward Dir. of Org. Dev.

In a recent leadership class, we discussed giving feedback. It turns out that this skill is one of those things that we think we do well, until we honestly evaluate how we do it, and the results that we get.

Here are some of the pitfalls that our class listed (providing these in the hope that these may give you insight on your own feedback approach):

1. Only give positive feedback.

2. Only give negative feedback.

3. Give it more frequently to highest producers.

4. Give it more frequently to lowest producers.

5. Give it more frequently to those we are most comfortable.

6. Do not provide it immediately after the incident.

7. Do not tie it to specific behaviors and expectations that can be improved.

8. Do not have a two-way conversation to understand the actual gap.

9. Do not empower the person to come up with a solution.

10. May use humor or sarcasm inappropriately in a way to lighten the conversation.

Every leader in our class was able to identify with at least one (or more) of the pitfalls above. This just highlights the need for leaders to continue to improve their feedback skills to reinforce the attitudes and habits that lead to successful performance.

In our class, we discussed “The Golden Rules of Feedback”:

1. Routinely recognize and reinforce good performance AND consistently confront and correct poor performance.

2. Always treat team members with dignity and respect.

3. Coach for improvement in private AND praise in public.

4. Focus on specific behavior.

How would you assess your ability to give constructive feedback? Can you identify with some of the pitfalls from our class? What can you do TODAY to improve your feedback skills and the performance that you desire? If you need coach support with the ideas above, please reach out to us – we are committed to your success!

Leadership mindset

“Feedback is not just a gift, but an investment.”


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