Kirsty Craig Associates - Why IS effective feedback so rarely given by managers

Why IS effective feedback so rarely given by managers?

Providing candid but helpful feedback is vital to improving performance and getting the most from our people, and helps everyone to know what “good” looks like.  

Yet it’s safe to say that the level and quality of feedback managers provide to employees is a common shortcoming. In fact, only 30% of individuals report that they regularly receive feedback at work. 

Human nature dictates that positive feedback is what we all want to hear, which can be very motivating for employees to do even more of what’s earned them the praise in the first place. Whereas feedback is delivered ineffectively or worse still, not having any feedback at all can be completely demotivating.  It’s also worth noting that negative feedback has its part to play in improving performance but how you deliver it is key to getting the right reaction from your employee.

There are a lot of reasons why employees might not be receiving the feedback they desperately need.  More often than not, it’s simply a skills gap – we don’t know how to deliver feedback, good or bad, in the right way. 

We know as recruiters that the main reason someone leaves their job is because of poor management.  So we coach managers with establishing formal and informal feedback loops and implementing an effective performance management programme.  

These are just some of the ways you can deliver effective and constructive feedback… 

  • Specific: feedback should be explicit around a particular project or piece of work so that both you and your employee can look at it objectively and both comments on what you think is successful about the work and areas where it can improve. 
  • Timely: feedback should be given as close as possible to the project or action in question.  Don’t wait until their official performance review if you think something deserves praise and there’s no good commenting on a piece of work that they did six months ago when challenges and problems will have been forgotten. Feedback has its greatest impact when it’s delivered straight after the event.   
  • Public or private: how you choose to deliver the feedback will depend on a number of factors.  Constructive or negative feedback is best delivered privately, otherwise it can cause shame and embarrassment among work colleagues.  When a manager takes time out of their day to take a team member aside and praise them for their work, it can be heartfelt and meaningful when delivered privately. Delivering positive feedback to an employee publicly in front of their colleagues can have a positive and motivating impact on others as well as the individual receiving it. 
  • Make it a two-way street: An important element of giving feedback is the two-way conversation. Allow the employee to respond to your feedback and give their viewpoint and thoughts as to what could have made the project more successful. This will allow managers to improve their contribution to the team to ensure greater success for future projects. 

When feedback is delivered badly, employees can end up feeling misunderstood, unfairly judged and ultimately disengaged which in turn can lead to poor performance or even a resignation!

On the other hand, when you are able to recognise and acknowledge the efforts of others, they’re more likely to work harder for you, and being honest about where and how improvements could be made, will ultimately build trust between manager and employee.

If you recognise that you need more guidance on how to deliver feedback, or maybe you’re experiencing challenges in this area, so please register for our online Performance Management Masterclass on Thursday 22nd October.  

This is an interactive masterclass which will help you establish informal and formal feedback loops to keep your team feeling valued and consistently in high performance mode. 


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