What 3 characteristics make performance feedback so destructive?

Performance Feedback

By David Dye

Don’t let useless negative feedback sap your team’s motivation.

Negative feedback is destructive and all-too-common. There are three common problems that erode the power of these conversations. 

My phone buzzed with a text message from Amena, a junior manager. “Just had annual eval – most useless ever. Negative feedback that makes no sense.”

I’d coached this woman—a hardworking, strategic thinker who passionately cared about the company and its customers. Another text quickly followed the first: “My eval was ‘good’ on everything except where I was ‘very good’ at getting along with people. But then…”

The phone buzzed with her final thought:

Have you experienced her frustration? Meaningless platitudes followed by a vague assertion that something you’ve never heard about should have been better – this kind of feedback is worse than nothing at all.

Because many managers lack the courage or know-how to give meaningful feedback and help their people grow, they default to useless negative feedback that isn’t just a waste of time—it’s painful and destructive.

But like you, most leaders don’t intend to give poor feedback or hurt people, so what goes wrong?

If you can identify and avoid these three problems, you’re on your way to helping your people achieve great results and becoming a leader they can rely on and trust.

Originally published on letsgrowleaders.com May 17, 2021