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Common Mistakes Managers Make While Giving Feedback

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Common Mistakes Managers Make While Giving Feedback

As a manager, giving your employees feedback is perhaps your most important task. But are your employees happy about the way you give feedback about them? Does your feedback motivate your employees to give their best or does it make them resentful? Does it boost your employees’ morale? Does it keep them on-track regarding your team’s objectives or do they continue being distracted?

These are some questions that help assess the effectiveness of your feedback. In an ideal corporate setting, your feedback is supposed to help your employees realize the reasons for inconsistencies in their performance and suggest a corrective course of action. Thus, it should facilitate employees’ career growth. However, in most situations, the opposite happens. Why? There are varied reasons. Most of the time, knowingly or unknowingly, managers make certain mistakes while passing on feedback to their employees. These mistakes negate the very purpose of giving feedback and jeopardize the relationship between managers and their subordinates.

Let us discuss a few of them here:

Attempting to sugarcoat negative feedback

Unwilling to hurt their employees, managers often try to lessen the impact of negative feedback by not stating things as-they-are. This only confuses employees because employers don’t come out with what they should and employees end up not understanding their employer.

Thinking that they are right because they are more experienced

Managers often take pride in their experience and ability to make correct judgments. The same reflects in the way they give feedback. They expect their direct reports to completely subscribe to their point of view and don’t factor for the employees’ own unique experience and perspectives.

Focusing on individuals rather than their actions

Managers tend to become judgmental about their employees. They let subjectivity influence their assessment of an employee.

Generalizing feedback

Managers give feedback without specifying the instances that led them to reach such a conclusion. Thus, feedback becomes so vague that subordinates may feel that their boss is unreasonable and attempting to judge everyone along the same lines.

Offering solutions along with negative feedback

Managers come to a quick conclusion that their subordinates cannot solve problems on their own. So, they attempt to offer solutions for performance problems which, they think, their employees face. They do not allow employees the opportunity to come up with their own solutions.

Giving feedback only at the annual appraisal

Managers wait to give feedback only at the annual appraisal. This is not the right performance improvement technique. This will keep your employees wondering what you think about their performance round-the-year. They may feel betrayed and suspicious about your intentions if the feedback is negative. Besides, you will have to draw several instances throughout the year to back your perspective, so it makes better sense to give feedback at regular intervals.

Using provocative language

While trying to prove their point, managers tend to use provocative words. Provocative language makes employees emotional. They may take an acrimonious course of action against their managers.

These are some mistakes you need to avoid to make your feedback effective and serve your organization’s needs.

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  • Common mistakes managers make while giving performance feedback:

    1) Lack of preparation: track exceptional and poor performance throughout the year by merely documenting evidence of such performance.

    2) Do not reference performance feedback supplemental materials: such documents can serve as additional guidelines to holding thorough and professional discussions with the employee about their performance

    3) Do not use proper etiquette in delivering performance feedback: bring to the attention the employee’s contributions and positive efforts, then balance the feedback with areas of improvement. Most of all show respect – these discussions should not be a personal attack or an opportunity to be sarcastic.

  • Gwen Miller

    In my experience, feedback was only provided at the annual review. I decided that when I became a leader, I wanted to give my staffers the opportunity to discuss their performance as often as needed. Feedback should be an ongoing communication and collaboration tool used by the leader to coach and mentor their staff member so they have the opportunity to correct those performance deficiencies prior to the annual review. And we also need to acknowledge when performance is good to great. It cannot be one sided. I believe this approach creates trust between the leader and staffer.

    Additionally, it seems if we wait until the performance review, the only things that are remembered are what was happening in the past 90 days not the 365 days that cover the review period. I find annual performance reviews to be draconian and a demotivator. Constant feedback loop between the leader and staffer will create the trust bond that allows for open communications so the staffer always knows where they stand and there are NO surprises for them at review time.

    As leaders we need to understand that this is part of our role and shame on us if we do not take responsibility sooner for the performance of our staffers. How could we expect a change in performance if we do not let people know that a change is needed or desired. We need to understand that people are what can make or break us as how we are perceived as a leader.

  • Susan Herrick

    The number one mistake for me is giving feedback only at the annual performance review, for all the reasons that the article cites. The second biggest mistake is not covered in the article — failing to acknowledge the employee’s strengths and positive behaviors. Any employee that you want to retain must be doing something right. Otherwise, the performance review would probably be a termination discussion. Stressing what you want the employee to keep on doing first is obviously motivating. However, it will also let the employee know that you really are paying attention and will legitimize your comments on the behaviors they need to change.

  • Felicia Miles

    Many performance reviews are done at the end of the year. In my opinion they would be more beneficial if there were done whenever the need arises. This can be informal; mid-year meetings, weekly staff meetings and even in passing. I also feel like they should be willing and open to accepting constructive criticism themselves.

  • Shalini Advani

    Having been involved with giving feedback to teachers and school managers for many years, I have found the following effective in enabling behaviour change:

    1. Establish a discussion-based collaborative tone. Beginning with the assumption that in the right circumstances almost everyone wants to improve, it is helpful to ask questions which promote reflection so that the person themselves highlights what needs to change.
    2. Make it clear that I am not simply a judge handing down a verdict. Using phrases like ‘Do you think that’ or ‘ It might be helpful if..’ creates a collegiate environment which promotes openness to change.
    3. Clarity and measurable targets in setting goals is crucial. The process of doing this is different with different levels of performance. If performance is really poor, and you are wondering whether to retain the employee at all, it is likely that the discursive, collaborative tone will not be helpful. In such cases specific targets with short review dates is important. In all cases it is essential to spell out by when the targets will be reviewed.

  • Glen Mashburn

    Managers seem to focus on what’s wrong more than on what’s right. None of us like to be criticized. When giving feedback, one must offer advice on how to fix the problems and comment on what the employee is doing right. Too many managers don’t feel as though they are doing their jobs unless they are finding fault. If the employee refuses to amend his or her behaviors, a manager must also be willing to terminate an employee’s job status. However, there are too many managers who are not really qualified for their own jobs. A successful organization begins at the selection and promotion phases of a person’s employment. Think back on those managers you respected and thought highly of. They were those who encouraged you to grow and helped you realize your potential. They weren’t necessarily easy to work for because they had high expectations for you and themselves but they were fair and consistent and gave you credit for a job well done.

  • Jay Konduros

    Yes any type of feedback in a yearly review is a mistake. Yearly reviews should merely focus on goals and future plans. Feedback should come at the time of the event, and be focussed on that event. I would go as far to say that feedback should always be positive (complement good things). Any other feedback should be in the form of a discussion about the task, how it went, etc. like a news reporter interview.

    Another mistake is not determining before hand how each employee likes to be treated. Some want blunt, some offend very easily, some need quiet praise, some need public recognition. The manager has to change styles with each person.

  • Communication is important. Managers should express their views and goals of the company to their employees regularly. Including the employees in some tasks towards these goals will allow the employees to feel like they are part of a bigger picture which will improve performances. This is a form of giving the employees the positive feedback itself, feeling of importance in the company. Any negative feedback should only be constructive criticisms to guide the employees to do their jobs better which will help the managers and the company.

  • Tom Langemo

    The biggest miss that managers make (in my experience) is failing to seek to understand. They provide the feedback, and that piece may actually go well (sometimes), but then they forget to stop, get quiet, and listen to the employee and gain their perspective. They let their predispositions and existing framing of the situation cloud the opportunity to build a better picture of “truth”. This also impacts action items and their ability to provide positive feedback – the framing gets in the way.

  • Just some quick thoughts…

    Having managed at various levels and providing guidance to my own managers I would have to say that the most common mistake is being honest. Providing feedback to someone sometimes means needing to provide feedback that they may not be pleasant. However, what I have found is that people want honest feedback both positive and negative if it is provided in way that is meant to be constructive.

    The other most common mistake that I have seen is timeliness. Feedback is not something that is meant to to be provided once a year. Making observations and providing feedback regarding someones performance is something that should happen on a regular basis. Now by this I do not mean every two weeks, but it should be a combination of scheduled and unscheduled conversations.

    Another common mistake is not establishing clarity. By this is I mean providing clear expectations and guidance both orally and in writing upfront and on a regular basis. Most problems in performance arise because expectations are not clearly defined.

    I have found that these three issues lead to most problems when providing feedback to individuals. This leads me to communication. How the information is provided and received. In most cases, the following general rule tends to work. When providing feedback I ask myself how would I want to hear this information that I need to provide? How can I be respectful in the delivery of the message and yet be clear? Can I provide examples or guidance on how to improve on identified areas for improvement?

    Lastly as a manager I need to make the determination of if the issues involved are ones that can be fixed or are in the abilities of the individual that I am providing feedback for OR are the expectations for the position not a fit for the individual. The answer to this last question helps to determine what the next steps and timely for see improvement might include in a performance plan.

  • I think a common mistake of managers into giving feedback is to communicate clear expectations before needing to give these feedback. If the employee is unaware of the expectations and goals, there is no direction for them and the feedback they receive are frustrating rather than motivating since they did not know in the first place what needed to be done or the way to do it.
    I think situational leadership is really important in giving feedback to your employees. The same feedback will have to be giving in a different way to different employees.

  • not having enough self awareness or self observation to realise the impact they may be having in the WAY they offer the feedback, also having an attachment to wanting to be liked even after giving feedback, and, pandering to those they are giving feedback to for fear of their reaction…and not giving themselves permission to keep it simple, clear, focused, and honest.

  • Performance feedback needs to focus on specifics and the bad news needs to be delivered along with the good.

    Ensuring that discussions issues and improvement methods and timetables are summarised and recorded is essential.

    Unfortunately many managers feel they need to pay lip service to what they see as an HR process and will tick off boxes to get the problem off their table. Many a disciplinary interview has been scuttled because a poorly performing employee can produce highly commendable performance reviews in defence of their position.

  • It’s been my experience that managers are unaware of the impact self-evaluation can make in helping an employee take responsibility for their choices, behavior and performance. A manager that has learned the value of how to self-evaluate will model and teach that to employees. In performance feedback whether it’s to reinforce positive performance or to bring to light performance that needs improvement the place to begin is self-evaluation. There are a few times when the behavior or decision is a zero tolerance issue so discussion is limited to “this must never happen again”. But most of the time asking and guiding an employee to gauge their own performance is putting the responsibility where it belongs. Asking great questions about what they are doing that is working and what they are doing that isn’t is the right step toward positive change. No one changes anything until they see there is a need for change. Everyone who is performing satisfactorily or better wants confirmation and feedback about what they are doing well

  • Rebecca Doepke

    I agree with everyone on timeliness, the coaching won’t matter to the team member or stick if it isn’t addressed the same day. Do not use judgmental words such as can’t, don’t, won’t, wrong, incorrect, and attitude. Focus on one behavior at a time, if there’s too much to work on it becomes overwhelming and nothing happens. Recognize improvements along the way, if I see something on the spot that a team member has improved on and changed, I will call it out and high five them. Make it fun and effective at the same time, coaching should be a positive experience for the manager and the team member.

  • Anne Alvord Hoback

    think one area where many managers could stand to improve — myself included, although I make a concerted effort — is giving timely feedback when we observe our employees “getting it right”. So much of our focus is on performance improvement and correction of errors that we lose sight of the fact that specific, timely feedback on a job well done is a tremendous motivator. For example, “Bob, I really like the enthusiasm you used on that last phone call, they way you used the customer’s name, and the probing questions you asked to make sure you were addressing all of the client’s concerns.” makes Bob want to have another great interaction the next time the phone rings, where “Bob, I noticed you didn’t use the callers name or ask if there was any other way you could help him” makes him disinclined to answer the phone next time because he doesn’t want to be corrected again. We need both, of course, but the specific, positive feedback has always gotten me greater improvements in performance than the corrective.

  • The biggest mistake I’ve seen is that managers don’t communicate effectively and tend to make it personal as opposed to focusing on the behaviours and the impact on the organization (positive and negative).

    I’ve been on both sides of the equation – HR – and middle management. I found that performance evaluations were not that difficult because I kept a fairly open running dialogue with my employee group. You don’t lose time in giving feedback because it occurs on a fairly regular basis. The performance review, to my mind, is just documenting and finalizing your goals and objectives for moving forward. Remember the word ‘review’. That’s all it is and a lot of people put too much into it because they haven’t been consistently aware of what’s going on in their respective work areas. Yolande’s comment about making sure you keep accurate notes is spot on – make note of good and not so good things as and when they occur.

    Another piece that many of us don’t realize until we stop doing it – is that employees NEED feedback. They want to know how they are doing and the review captures everything that you should have discussed through the year anyway. It just provides an opportunity to get everyone back on track.

  • karenmcp

    Starting out with goals and objectives is critical – a job description is not enough against which to weigh performance, so the first stop is working with your team to ensure goals & objectives are aligned with the team/functional objectives, which must be aligned with the business objectives. Secondly – balancing the act: ensuring it’s clear how the team performed against goals and objectives and expected behavior, what s/he is doing right and why they are valuable (assuming there’s truth here), while also candidly delivering any information about missed goals/objectives and what can be improved, developed. Most managers either miss giving the positive and the constructive feedback, or are too soft and non-specific about the constructive feedback.

  • Manager’s feedback can only be effective when there is trust among the manager and the employee. The manager must earn that trust by truly caring about the employee. Part of caring for the employee is to tell the employee what he/she is doing well and how he/she can be he more effective in the future and why would the behavior desired will be in the best interest of the employee. It is not easy to earn the trust of the employee and it is hard work to get to understand what the employee cares about and values and it is only in so understanding that the manager will be able to earn that trust. In my experience, seeing a motivated and loyal employee is priceless and great for the company and the progress of that manager.

  • Valentin Razmov

    Feedback can only be useful if the recipient gets it.
    So, the focus must be on how to open the heart and mind of the person to receiving and then acting on the feedback. This means that although much of what has been suggested above makes sense, it often only makes sense in the eyes of the feedback provider, but not the feedback recipient. If the recipient sees things differently — either in the content of the feedback or in its process — then the feedback will just go out the other ear (and only serve as a check mark in the HR feedback process, but not really as an accomplished goal).

    Further, people who study feedback distinguish the notions of “formative feedback” and “summative feedback”.
    Formative feedback is used to help people grow (“form”), and by definition it must be timely, supportive, and concrete — which does not exclude coaching on how to correct things occasionally.
    Summative feedback, in contrast, is used for bringing closure and giving an overall assessment (“sum”). This is how most performance evaluations are, unfortunately — they close the door on feedback, and often turn away the recipients who feel betrayed in some way. Summative feedback can be made helpful but only in the context of ample formative feedback; otherwise, it is best avoided.

  • One of the most common mistakes is when a manager waits until formal performance review time (eg quarterly, half yearly or even yearly) to give performance feedback, rather than giving it in ‘real-time’, on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
    When delivered at the end of a performance cycle ‘out of the blue’ it can be a nasty surprise to the person getting the feedback – i..e they could have been going through each day thinking that they were a high-performer and then ‘ouch’ – what are you talking about?
    They go into immediate resistance and denial.
    I have observed this many times in my career and I’ve coached individuals in the workplace who have suffered from it. It can really destroy their sense of confidence.
    Cheers, Stephanie

  • Selva S Chandramani

    Its not only the feed back comments but also the time frame used to convey it matters! When a manager finds that a resource is underperforming an immediate one-one meeting would help out to understand each others problems and achieve better results. like wise if the employee finds that the setup is not working and something is hindering his performance, certainly the employee could initiate a one-one meeting and achieve better results.

    often Managers speak a lot on the mistakes/blunders committed and comment on the achievements stating thats all was expected from you to perform which demotivates the employee.

    Timely feed back and appreciations always serve as the best motivation factors for a healthy team to be built and its outstanding performance

  • Janis K. Wheeler

    Don’t take the role of a parent with your employees. Being a partner is much more effective than being a parent. Managers, especially untrained managers, often use a role they are familiar with which may not be as effective in an office situation. It is also good to recognize where an employee shines and allow them to do what they are good at rather than putting a round peg in a square hole. Sometimes retraining isn’t the issue. Get to know your people and recognize each individual’s talents and skills. As much as possible, place people in projects where their talents and skills are directly useful. They will enjoy their work and you will get the results you are looking for. In this way, everyone benefits including the company’s bottom line. As far as performance reviews, stress that we are in this together for a common purpose. The employee’s contribution is crucial for everyone’s success. If the employee can’t come on board in this regard, then perhaps they are more suited to other work somewhere else. Taking a helpful, truthful and appreciative approach is always best.

  • Malgorzata Wieliczko

    Both manager and an employee need to agree and meet at certain point to establish what went wrong (if something went wrong) and how it can be improved.
    Also it is important while giving negative feedback to point out positives as well.
    A person should not feel scared after one-2-one with manager. We should start by telling what a person is doing good, what are the strengths and then that there are things that need improvement and how a person might impoove his/hers performance.

    One other thing is that some managers tend to spend to much time on ‘teaching’ instead of coaching. Manager should encourage to pro-active behaviour and act like a partner and not act like a parent.

  • Another mistake is not asking the employee for their perspective of the situation before giving advice. If there is not a candid discussion that leads to agreement about what is working and what is not then there will not be agreement on the need for change or the next steps. And the employee will not buy in to the solution. Much better to discuss the situation and use inquiry to help the employee understand the need for change. Without that there is not commitment to change, only resentment because the employee feels coerced.

  • I think the most common mistake managers make while giving feedback related to performance happens before the actual feedback. Managers and their subordinates should have a commitment and accountability between the two as it relates to what this person’s job is.

    In many cases managers can explain what is going wrong with an employee, but rarely are able to describe what superior performance would look like. Establish that first, then any time there is a feedback it will (should) always be constructive to why this person’s positions exist.

    In summary, it’s a two way streak. Commitment and accountability must exist on both sides.

  • The biggest mistake is not giving feedback at all. The next one is giving opinions rather than facts. Then we have the problem of people giving ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ feedback. There is no such thing. If you are giving feedback in this way, that’s another indicator that it’s being done badly.

    Feedback should be information about the impact of what you said or did that enables you to make a decision about what to do next time.

    Far better than giving people feedback, a really skilled manager makes sure that people are able to get it directly themselves.

    It’s like the difference between driving the car yourself or having someone sit in the back seat telling you how you are doing. Which do you prefer?

  • Sandip Karia

    Most of Items are covered so most of this may look repetitive. But if we go for top 6 mistakes,
    1. Giving bad feedback in front of others: This is worst part as employee will be humiliated.
    2. Give feedback after end of year when Increment is involved: There is no chance of improvement and get better increment for this year. This will impact negatively to employee and he can start looking for other job even if he did mistakes. Give immediate feedback and discuss periodically.
    3. Not showing way of improvement: When we you identify that something is wrong, also suggest how to improve it.
    4. Not showing any Future: When we give negative criticism, employee should not feel this is end of story and start searching for job. Need to show if they improve, what will be their future and career path.
    5. Try to give Indirect hint: Many employees don’t understand that and it is as good as not giving feedback. Discuss one to one directly
    6. Not listening to person: When you give feedback, you need to listen to person about what is his/her thinking. If person in not agreed on your feedback, he/she will never improve.

  • Elaine Gallagher-Dekker

    I agree with lots of the above.

    Having the courage to let people know what you perceive (specifically) that they need to get better at. I believe people (who are engaged) do want to do well.

    Letting them know you are 100% on their side and ask what you can do to support them in this. Then seriously shutting up (this is the hard bit) and actually giving the person a chance to say what they need to say without interruption, because giving them free flow can provide such gems of information.

    What comes out might be about the individual and their capability, but it could also be that a business process is an obstacle to efficiency or the responsibilities aren’t clear or yes, that they need to manage their priorities or attention better, for example.

    And then finally the follow up. The manager needs to create the support structure which reinforces that they care and to ensure the learning takes place. Without this, there’s no growth and no relationship … just a manager with the transmit button on, and no receiver.

  • A common mistake is to document and mention shortcomings as mistakes or issues.

    Couch these as growth opportunities and objectives. Link objectives of the employee with those of the manager, department, organization to help the person see how their work impacts these other areas.

  • Adam Worgan

    When giving feed back never use the word “But” as it removes any statement that precedes it.
    Never criticise the performer only the performance
    Only compare against the business plan and the target not against others in the team.
    Never say things in confidence, if it is not for general publication then it is not for anyone.

  • Mark Barbash

    1) Not providing feedback on a perceived “mistake” as soon as possible after the event occurs. 2) Not providing specific feedback on a mistake. 3) not providing positive feedback for a job well done and 4) Not being open to the possibility that the employee did the right thing and the manager was wrong.

  • Damon Tsai

    I think one of the biggest mistakes in giving feedback is waiting to give it in the first place. At times, managers that are on the floor who notice things might not immediately address the issue right away for whatever the reason, may it be; the lack of words that come to mind at the time, getting upset over the issue, preoccupied with something else that requires immediate attention, or maybe fear of the employee becoming upset because of the attention to their faults.

    When I was a shift supervisor, I was on the floor a lot, working with my crew. Anytime I saw something that needed correction, I would try to address it immediately. This is also a double edged sword. Addressing the issue right away can also make the employee feel upset or even feel incompetent. I’ve learned that as long as you take the time to talk to the employee privately and be as mild as possible with the feedback, they’ll understand and move on.

    I gained great loyalty from my crew from being positive and corrective with their actions. The little things that count are thanking them for their hard work, giving praise for something they did well, and using the company’s appreciation gifts if they have such a system. We had these gift certificates that could be used to purchase any product items, excluding alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and I gave them out whenever the crew or the employee did a great job that night.

    Advice doesn’t just stop at the workplace either. Through the loyalty I gained as a supervisor, the crew also came to me with issues they were having outside of work. I try not to get into anybody’s business and never gossip, which was the reason why my crew entrusted me with their issues. Their performance can and will be affected by their life on the outside. Giving them good advice is essential in keeping the employee focused and content with working for or with you. It’s not just going through the motions to get them to perform better, but a true, genuine need to help everyone around you to the best of your abilities is what will set you apart from the rest. Sometimes I would feel like I’ve been robbed of a promotion because of the effort in bringing everyone up to a higher standard while not bragging about all of the things I’ve done, but in the end, I feel gratification for sticking to my own beliefs and doing what I know is right, and that’s all that matters to me.

  • Most common mistake is not listening to the employee’s feedback on their own performance, then building on or clarifying their points to make improvements. Employees, like their bosses, are expected to perform their responsibilities and accountabilities within some pre-determined “expectation band”. It’s their performance. They should be telling you how well they met the expectations and their action plan or solution for improving growth areas or areas of deficiency.
    If feedback tends to be top down, then the employee is being treated like a child, thus, the responsibility and accountability for their actions is a shared onus on them and the boss. Treat them like children, they will tend to act like children, and let the boss take some responsibility for their actions, ex. tell them what to do to improve, send them on supervisor designated training and the like. Treat them like adults, they will tend to act like adults and they will tell you what needs to be improved, what they want to do about it and what is going well. Treat them like grown-ups and they will tend to act like grown-ups and the performance review becomes an unnecessary exercise to meet arcane HR policies.
    Remember, as the boss, you interact with your employees regularly and they interact with each other and other employees and outsiders. You coach, advise and direct them regularly. If anything, the formal performance review should be a recap or scorecard of where the employee’s performance is at a point in time. Given the regular interactions, the performance review should be taken as an indicator of how well you have managed a particular employee and how well they have responded to your “guidance”. Effective performance reviews are a two-way street.
    An aside: Never do performance reviews at salary review time. Just another bugaboo of mine :-)

  • Bill Moore • All good observations. Just a couple more thoughts.
    Feed back is specific. Feedback is individual. Feedback is based on clearly defined expectations. Feedback shows how improvement can be made. “I’m disappointed in your work.” “You’re not doing as well as Connie.” “You’re sales are down. Bring them up.” “That report was lousy. Re-do it.” is not feedback. It’s nagging.
    A manager must cite a specific area of concern, provide quantifiable examples, present expectations, and, through discussion with the individual, determine a practicable course of action and identifiable goals within a reasonable time frame.
    Also, always say something nice.

  • Sujeet Oommen

    Common mistakes in my opinion, are as simple as depending on an annual appraisal cycle to give feedback, and not being developmental in the approach, instead it often becomes a battle of justification for the rating being given which leads to nothing positive being said. The whole appraisal mood becomes adversarial at times. Sometimes managers err towards the positive, extolling the employees virtues during the appraisal. Both extremes can lead to setting the wrong expectations and ultimately it will come back to haunt the manager either the next year or a couple of years later, either through attrition or by creating monsters.

    Appraisal has to be an ongoing process and we must also share the employees strengths. I have discussions at least every quarter as well as a skip level meeting after which I share the feedback with the managers without taking names. I’ve found it to be a good system to let the employee know where he stands at all times, so that the annual appraisal comes as no surprise. It also enables me to invest in the right programs for the team’s development. You also become very credible as a leader.

  • Our choice of words to make a constructive feedback is ultimately important. Most managers/employers are still giving appraisals based on negativity instead of focusing on using positive words and pointing out on jobs well done. Of course, it is also important to include the negative feedback and when doing so, proper choice of words must be used in order to bring a positive outcome and improvement. I also believe LISTENING and the willingness to accept feedback (traffic flow of communication)by both parties involved are important too, so that the final outcome is a win-win situation.

  • Ahmed Mujtaba Khan

    Praising or accusing is not the case addressing the right issue at right time is more important for a manager. Yes the way s/he does is considerable when ever addressing any employee manager should raise the level of employee for having better understanding bilaterally. Arguments and justifications should be avoided anyway because it takes the manager down to level of employee; this causes the discussion in vein.
    Unnecessary pushing causes retaliation but addressing in focus direction entices the resilience.

  • Felix E. Herrera

    One of the most common mistakes that managers make when providing feedback is that they sometimes do not correlate areas of improvement to the individual performance areas that the employees are being graded on. In the event that the deficiencies are part of proficiencies that the employee must meet, then the manager needs to make certain that the employee understands how their performance or in some cases their behavior impacts those proficiencies.

  • Some of the common mistakes I have found are not spending time preparing for the feedback conversation, not thinking about the other person’s point of view and not giving enough feedback generally; so rather than it being a daily or weekly ‘norm’, it becomes a once a year ordeal for all parties..

    I really like Kevin’s approach and find coaching techniques are really helpful because you are there as a supporter to enable that person to perform better.

    However, I find so many people ask a question and do not leave enough silence to give the chance for the other person to think and reply. It seems most people can’t help filling the silence. I’ve found it really helpful to practice holding a silence so that the person giving feedback sees how much helpful information, and self understanding comes from the recipient if you wait for them to answer.

    Another common problem is the person giving feedback coming in with a list and using the session to seek ‘revenge’. Even, when they don’t go for the jugular, you can hear the suppressed anger for all the things this person has ‘done’ coming out. Not helpful.

    Finally, rehearsal. Rehearsing feedback conversations with critical friends or bringing in people to help rehearse those conversations who can give, yes, feedback on how you come across when giving it is so very useful.

  • I agree with all info shared above. I am assuming we are talking about off cycle feedback (i.e. not mid year or annual review), as my suggestion to validate that feedback is to pick up the phone and get some multi rater responses to the employee’s performance. So many relationships and employees are destroyed by one-sided objective feedback.

    That being said, we train our managers and leaders on the DDI Interaction Process and Key Principles, which reduces the “sniper” aspect of so many managers’ feedback approaches. These principles are: (1) Maintain and enhance self esteem, (2) Listen and respond with empathy, (3) Share thoughts feelings and rationale -to build trust, (4) Ask or help and encourage involvement, and (5) Provide support without removing responsibility.

    Some managers will struggle with this more than others, depending on their personality or behavioral preferences. We utilize a number of profile assessments to aide in creating manager self awareness regarding their strengths or weaknesses in the areas of interpersonal skills. This can help them prepare for the delivery.

  • John Thompson

    It’s a good idea to get feedback from the employees peers prior to a review. This will give a 360 degree view of the person. Ensure that all feedback received, both positive and negative is validated.

    Always remember that negative feedback should be delivered with confidence. I have found that by pointing out how negatives can be turned into positives and setting expectations will produce a far more efficient employee.

  • A lot of good points here. I wonder what managers need to know to conduct an excellent performance evaluation?

    I believe it is important that both the manager and the employee come prepared. Both should start from the documentation from the first meeting, where the employee and manager agree on expectations. Additionally, make sure the manager is aware of accomplishments that the employee feels are significant. That’s a good start.

  • Gerry Giffin

    1. Observations vs. conclusions: When providing feedback it is important to first present the evidence – these are the observations. Too often only judgements and conclusions are presented. Collecting observations during the performance management period is the manager’s most important task in preparing the review. These observations should be brought to the employee’s attention at the time observed, recorded and then become part of the performance review – with no surprises.

    2. Perception vs. reality: When faced with an employee who refuses to accept criticism its important for them to understand that whether or not their behaviour is correct is moot. If it is perceived by their direct reports, colleagues or bosses as incorrect then corrective action is required – either to correct the behaviour or correct the perception.

    3. Being frank: Often the manager waters down the message to make it easier to deliver. With good observations a manager can have more confidence to draw the right conclusions and deliver difficult messages with clarity.

  • Evaluation is only one part of Performance Management, and the one that takes place when “things are over”; the crucial part is to invest the time, focus and energy to do good objectives setting in the first place: be clear, be specific, be realistic, clarify what it takes and make sure prerequisites (knowledge, skills, engagement) and supportive measures (training, coaching, controlling) are in place to reach the objectives; establish feedback on behavior and performance as an ongoing process of managing a relationship between manager and colleague; involve, coach, and get commitment; find the right balance between being supportive and being demanding; respect the human being, feedback on the performance (or behavior); a lot of managers lack communication and coaching skills, there is a risk that they are either too offensive or too reluctant in addressing issues, which makes it hard, literally impossible, to give appropriate and constructive feedback, or the feedback sounds and feels more like critizizing when things go wrong. This is not constructive nor inspiring, rather it demotivates people and makes them react like: “why doesn’t she/he tell me in the first place, what and how she/he wants things done?” – You need a clear basis in the form of agreements and commitment in order to later reflect and feedback against. Only then feedback has a chance to be what it is meant to be: a real chance for learning and improvement!