Navigating Feedback Conversations: Common Mistakes to Avoid

An essential part of your role as a manager is to provide positive and constructive feedback.

And with good reason. Providing frequent feedback to your employees:

  • Prevents small issues from escalating.
  • Gives employees information they can use to improve their performance.
  • Lets employees know that you value their contributions and understand the impact they make.

But effectively receiving feedback is just as important as giving it. In fact, the way you handle regular feedback you get from employees can make a big impact on individual work relationships, employee engagement, your company culture, and your success as a manager.

Need a little help navigating feedback from your team?

Use these tips to avoid common mistakes in feedback conversations and respond appropriately.

Mistake 1: Ignoring feedback.

Employees want to feel heard. They want to know that their ideas matter, and that they can affect change. So treat all feedback as valuable – whether it’s positive, constructive, or negative.

While it can be tough to find the time to reply thoughtfully to every idea or piece of constructive criticism that comes your way, never ignore it. Even if you can’t implement a suggestion or you don’t agree with feedback, acknowledge it with something simple like, “Thanks for sharing – I’ll definitely consider this moving forward.”

Mistake 2: Failing to identify the root cause.

Often, employees share their feedback in the form of problems or symptoms. As their manager, responding effectively requires determining the underlying issue. When an employee simply lays a problem at your feet, thank them for bringing it to your attention.

Then, present an opportunity for the two of you (or your entire team) to work on diagnosing the root cause – and developing an appropriate solution together. Responding this way strengthens team bonds, creates a culture of accountability, and prevents the same problems from reoccurring.

Mistake 3: Reacting to negative feedback.

If feedback seems mean-spirited, inaccurate, or personal, stay calm. While your gut instinct may be to respond harshly or get defensive, reacting can backfire. Take a deep breath, put up a mental shield and consider what your employee has shared: Is it true? Could it be a result of miscommunication? Do you need more information or to talk in real-time to understand their perspective?

Instead of fighting fire with fire, treat the criticism as the golden opportunity it is: to meet your employee where they are, discover what could be done better the next time, and learn something valuable about yourself in the process.

Learn more about employee feedback:

Getting to the Truth: Why You Should Survey Your Employees Often

Need honest feedback on your hiring or workforce management strategies?

Schedule a free consultation with your local PrideStaff office today.