4 Times Leaders and Managers Should Not Give Feedback

There are certain times leaders and managers should not give feedback to their boss, peers or direct reports.

While that may sound strange to performance management experts and coaches, the above cartoon illustrates one instance when not to give feedback…when your boss says so in no uncertain terms! But, more seriously, there are other times when performance feedback is unwanted and unwarranted.

If you want your teams to develop and if you want to promote a workplace culture of continuous improvement, you need to be able to provide both positive and negative feedback so people know how they are doing.  While positive feedback is typically easy to give and receive, negative or constructive feedback can be problematic. Yet it is crucial for leaders and managers to learn how and when to give both positive and negative feedback.

Here is a list compiled by a recent group of executives involved in action learning for leadership development. In their experience, they determined that there were at least four times when leaders and managers should not give feedback. Do not give feedback when:

  1. Personal Preference. It is more about your own preference or style than the quality of the person’s work product or approach.
  2. Limited Information. You do not have a full understanding of the situation.
  3. Circle of Influence. The problem is out of the recipient’s control.
  4. Unknown Solution. You don’t have a solution to propose that would help improve the situation.

The point is that performance feedback is critically necessary in the workplace to let people know where they stand and to manage and improve performance. But you should be thoughtful about the time, place and situation so that your comments are fair, complete, authentic, clear, and constructive.

To learn more about becoming a better manager, download The Six Management Best Practices that Make the Difference Between Effective and Extraordinary

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