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Giving Feedback and Keeping Relationships Intact

Written by Karen Muggleton

When I ask leaders what the least favorite part of their job is, it’s often giving feedback… especially when that feedback needs to deliver some correction.

I understand; giving feedback can be very difficult. Think about the next time you might give feedback: What’s your approach? Navigating these interactions can feel like a minefield. But if you understand which ‘feedback traps’ to avoid, giving feedback can actually reinforce your relationship with your team.

The Five ‘Feedback Traps’ to Watch Out For

Trap One: Too passive. You don’t want to hurt your employee’s feelings, so you play it nice and give only good feedback. If you continue to do this, how will your employees grow, and help you more?

Trap Two: Too vague. Feedback is only useful when your employee walks away from the discussion knowing what to do next. What do YOU need to make your feedback clearer?

Trap Three: Too harsh. If your employee leaves the discussion feeling dejected and unmotivated, they won’t produce their best work. What could you say, and do, to help them feel you’re on the same team?

Trap Four: Not leading by example. Your feedback will sound unbelievable or uncreditable if you aren’t walking the walk with them. If you won’t do what you’re asking, you lose their respect and trust?

Trap Five: Acting out of recency bias. Recency bias is the psychological tendency to remember that which has most recently happened and forget that which happened in the past. Is your feedback taking into account your employees’ long term behaviour?

Finding your balance when it comes to giving feedback is very personalized; there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer for the best way to do it. In finding your balance, consider these questions before you give feedback: Are you leading in alignment with sound values? What kind of day have you had? What kind of day have they had?

In the end, it all comes back to your long term relationship with that employee. In general, do they feel cared for by and connected with you? If they do, they will be more forgiving of a ‘bad feedback’ day. If they don’t, they will be more likely to take feedback ‘the wrong way’ or ‘catastrophize’ it.

Giving feedback in a way that builds healthy connections with your team is what we specialize in. Want a helpful reminder on how to give your best feedback before going into the discussion? Download this free ‘Don’t Get Trapped! 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Feedback’ Tip Sheet

Don't Get Trapped! Download this free tip sheet to remind yourself of the common traps and what to ask yourself-- BEFORE you give feedback.


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