Flawed Feedback: How To Identify Inadequate Feedback

Updated: Aug 9, 2021


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Your employees should have feedback training under their belt.


The process of giving and receiving feedback can do more harm than good for your employees if company employees are not properly trained in the practice. In this segment of the feedback series, we will be focusing on the concept of flawed feedback and the effects it can have on your business. It’s important to recognize the signs and effects of flawed feedback, so that you can adjust your behavior and fix your delivery. Knowing common examples of flawed feedback will benefit your team members when they are on the receiving end of feedback, improving employee performance and communication. Future segments will center on what to do once flawed feedback is identified, in order to still retain the issues being addressed.


What is flawed feedback?


Flawed Feedback can look like (from Actionable Feedback):

  • Attacking the person rather than the person’s behavior

  • Vague or abstract statements

  • Communicating without evidence or examples

  • The failure to acknowledge if behavior is exhibited all the time or only under certain circumstances

  • Speaking with no clarity on what the feedback giver sees as the impact of this behavior and why it’s problematic

  • The tendency to blame others for failures but not yourself

  • Using a condescending tone when providing feedback

  • Using emotions over facts


Without room for discussion and elaboration on the given feedback, downward feedback (feedback from a manager to a team member) does not allow for the employee’s personal or professional growth. For feedback to be implemented effectively, both the feedback giver and receiver must understand their roles in the feedback process.


How should you manage receiving flawed feedback?


If you encounter a situation where the feedback receiver becomes defensive, it is likely in response to the way the feedback provider is presenting the information. Actionable feedback is proactive in engaging the feedback giver and receiver, with the ultimate goal of improving both employee and business development. Actionable or positive feedback results in limited defense, more learning, and improved results.


If you don’t see these results, consider: Have I adequately provided feedback with examples of behavior? What about the impacts of this behavior? Have I left room for questions? If the receiver is defensive, the answer is likely no.


Managers and employees should be trained in the practice of giving and receiving feedback. By doing so, businesses can expect to see improvement in efficiency, the prevention of major mistakes, and a staff of employees more likely to speak up and ask questions. Most importantly, a positive relationship between managers and team members will be strengthened through proper communication. You need to be practiced in how to give and receive feedback for a business to operate cohesively. Stay tuned for the next segment of our feedback series, where we will tell you how to give adequate feedback and respond appropriately when given flawed feedback.


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