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Give The Gift Of Feedback

Give the Gift of Feedback

By now you’ve heard all of the reasons why feedback is so important. Respectful, constructive feedback helps with professional growth. Feedback between an employee and manager proactively addresses performance matters and promotes continuous improvement and growth. Furthermore, Gallup found that units with managers who received feedback showed 8.9% greater profitability post-intervention relative to units in which the manager received no feedback.

And yet, for many of us feedback is a four letter word. According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, 21% of managers admitted that that they avoid giving constructive feedback and even more managers admitted to not sharing appreciative feedback.

If the importance of providing feedback is understood, why do so many managers avoid it? Here are some of the most common reasons:

It’s Uncomfortable

Most of us don’t enjoy confrontation. Thus providing feedback, especially the constructive kind, is stressful. Managers’ report sweaty palms, nervousness and lack of sleep leading up to feedback conversations.

I don’t have the time

In addition to keeping projects on track, monitoring the progress of goals and objectives and overseeing team performance, managers often have countless other tasks that they’re responsible for. Busy managers regularly site lack of time as the reason for not providing feedback.


I don’t want to upset anyone

Many managers are fearful of being the bad guy. Some managers also fear that this otherwise high performing employee will fixate on the feedback or they’ll retaliate causing a decrease in productivity.


Here’s what you can do:

It’s Not About You…

However uncomfortable providing feedback may be for you, remember that the conversation isn’t about you. The conversation is about the employee. The goal is to either affirm behavior and performance that should be continued or to address performance issues proactively before they become significant. When managers withhold feedback, they stymie opportunities for employee learning and professional development.

Be Prepared

One of the biggest issues with feedback is that it’s not delivered effectively. To avoid this pitfall, prepare for the conversation ahead of time. Consider the situation, behavior and impact that you need to address. For example:

“Mike, during the team meeting last week, you volunteered to help complete the project that is under a tight deadline. I really appreciate your initiative and willingness to help the team. Because of your assistance it looks like we’re going to be able to complete the project on schedule. Thank you. “

“Katie, during the sales meeting yesterday I noticed that you pushed away from the table and stared out the window when the sales manager talked about quarterly sales performance. I got the impression that you were not interested in the conversation. Please tell me about what was going on during that meeting.”

Avoid judgments or assumptions and focus on observable behaviors.

Continuous Conversations

Feedback is more likely to become a 4 letter word if it doesn’t occur regularly or if it only focuses on the negative. Constructive and appreciative feedback should be part of the bigger, ongoing relationship between the manager and the employee.


Want more insights on giving and receiving feedback? Contact the experts at Pathfinder Strategies at (888) 529-0240 or

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