When Feedback Turns Toxic: Avoid These 10 Mistakes At All Costs

Feedback is an invaluable tool for growth and development, but when mishandled, it can become a source of demotivation and toxicity. In my role as an executive leadership coach, I guide leaders to deliver feedback that is constructive, not destructive. Avoiding certain pitfalls is essential to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of feedback sessions. Let’s examine the ten mistakes you must steer clear of to ensure that your feedback fosters improvement rather than resentment.

Delivering Feedback in Anger:  Feedback given in the heat of the moment, driven by frustration or anger, rarely leads to positive change. It’s crucial to approach feedback with a calm and constructive mindset.

Being Vague or Indirect: Unclear feedback can create confusion and uncertainty. Be direct and specific to provide clarity and direction.

Overloading with Negativity: While it’s important to address areas for improvement, excessively negative feedback can overwhelm and discourage. Aim for a balanced approach that also recognizes strengths.

Public Embarrassment: Giving negative feedback in public can humiliate and disengage an employee. Always discuss sensitive issues privately.

Focusing on Personality Over Behavior: Feedback should target behaviors, not personal attributes. Discuss actions and their impact, rather than perceived character flaws.

Forgetting to Listen: Feedback is a two-way conversation. Allow the recipient to share their perspective and listen actively to their input.

Lacking Empathy and Support: Empathy is a cornerstone of effective feedback. Understand the recipient’s viewpoint and offer support for their development.

Delaying Feedback: Timely feedback is most effective. Address issues promptly rather than letting them fester.

Neglecting Follow-Up Feedback without follow-up can feel like empty words. Set action plans and check in on progress.

Making It Personal Keep feedback professional and focused on work performance. Personal grievances have no place in constructive feedback.

Feedback, when delivered thoughtfully and respectfully, can be a powerful catalyst for professional growth. By avoiding these ten mistakes, leaders can create a culture where feedback is welcomed and valued as a tool for continuous improvement.

Lead From Within: Empower others with feedback that uplifts, guides, and inspires—turning potential into excellence.

#1 N A T I O N A L  B E S T S E L L E R

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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