When you give someone feedback, the ultimate goal is for the receiver to take the feedback to heart and use it to further develop their skills. Even if you are delivering the right content, you might still be unconsciously throwing in some language that detracts from the message. According to Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady, ineffective feedback is worse than giving no feedback at all. Here are the 5 worst feedback mistakes you’re making that renders your feedback ineffective:
1. Backing out
“What you did made me angry, but now that I think about it, maybe I was just stressed…”
Saying something like this detracts from the importance of the feedback. The receiver will lose your message and write off their mistake as your own lapse in judgment.
2. Referencing your own experiences
“I remember when I did the same thing…”
This takes ownership away from the receiver. Sympathizing with them won’t allow them the opportunity to see their faults, but will instead validate those faults as common human error.
3. Using insensitive language
“You were a mess in the meeting this morning…”
This may seem common sense, but a lot of people try to keep things casual and friendly by using slightly less formal language. However, be careful with the words you use, as they may elicit stronger emotional reactions than you think.
4. Cushioning the feedback
“You’re not going to like this…”
Of course they won’t like it! But don’t let them brace for impact. Think of when you’re about to have blood drawn – the more you tense up, the more it hurts. By prefacing your message like this, it puts the receiver on the defensive and they won’t be as willing to accept your message.
5. Delaying the feedback
“Last month in our meeting…”
This is probably the worst thing you could do. The more prompt the feedback, the better the receiver will remember the situation and the specific behaviours exhibited. Additionally, if you delay too long, the receiver will wonder why the conversation didn’t occur sooner and think that it doesn’t hold much importance. Using a continuous feedback app is the best way to get that feedback out ASAP.