12 Things Not to Do When Giving Important Feedback

Providing feedback is a vital aspect of leadership and personal growth. As an executive leadership coach, I knowhow valuable constructive feedback can be in helping individuals and teams thrive. However, giving feedback effectively is an art that requires finesse and skill.

Here are 12 common pitfalls to avoid when delivering important feedback. Recognizing and steering clear of these mistakes will enhance your ability to provide feedback that is constructive, well-received, and conducive to growth.

Don’t Make It Personal: When giving feedback, avoid making it personal. Focus on behaviors, actions, or outcomes rather than attacking someone’s character or personality. Keep the conversation objective and professional.

Avoid Generalizations: Vague or sweeping statements can leave the recipient unsure about what specifically needs improvement. Instead of saying, “You always do this,” provide specific examples and details to illustrate your point.

Don’t Deliver Feedback Publicly: Feedback is best delivered in a private and confidential setting. Avoid providing feedback in front of colleagues or team members, as it can be embarrassing and counterproductive.

Refrain from Being Overly Critical: While constructive feedback is essential, avoid being overly critical or harsh. Strike a balance between highlighting areas for improvement and acknowledging strengths.

Don’t Assume Intent: Avoid assuming why someone behaved a certain way. Instead, focus on the observable behavior or outcome and ask for their perspective to gain a better understanding.

Avoid Interrupting:  Allow the individual to express themselves fully before responding. Interrupting can come across as dismissive and hinder open communication.

Don’t Rely Solely on Negative Feedback: Balance negative feedback with positive reinforcement and recognition of accomplishments. A feedback conversation should not be solely focused on what went wrong.

Avoid Using Complex Language: Ensure that your feedback is clear and easily understood. Avoid using technical jargon or complex language that might confuse the recipient.

Don’t Delay Feedback: Timely feedback is more impactful. Avoid waiting too long to address issues or provide recognition. Address them as close to the relevant situation as possible.

Avoid Comparisons: Avoid comparing individuals to others when giving feedback. Focus on their individual performance and growth rather than making unfavorable comparisons.

Don’t Provide Feedback When Emotional: If you are upset or emotional, it’s best to postpone the feedback conversation. Emotional feedback can be counterproductive and escalate tensions.

Avoid Neglecting Follow-Up:  Feedback is most effective when it leads to action and improvement. Don’t forget to follow up with individuals to assess progress and offer ongoing support.

Effective feedback is a powerful tool for personal and professional development. By avoiding these 12 common mistakes when giving important feedback, you can foster an environment of growth, collaboration, and open communication.

Lead From Within: Remember that providing feedback is a skill that can be honed and perfected over time.


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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