6 Mistakes to Avoid When Giving & Receiving Feedback

At some point in your career you will have to give and receive feedback. Being able to do both of these things well is a skill set on its own. Feedback is something that is ideally handled delicately and deliberately no matter what side you are on. You want to make sure that you give it with care and that you take it with the right attitude. While there is a lot of communication surrounding what you should do in both of these situations, there is not always as much communication on what actions to avoid. 

Mistakes to Avoid While Giving Feedback

You can give feedback in two ways: to someone that you are managing or to someone that is managing you. In either situation, it is always best practice to make sure that you avoid these common mistakes.

  • Providing feedback that is vague. The best feedback should point out something that the individual can work on, such as time management, prioritization, or quality of work. You should also provide some examples regarding a situation and how it could have been managed better. Help paint a clear picture for the individual on what’s you’d like to see changed so you can avoid any confusions.
  • Provide feedback that is not directly from you. It is not a good idea to let others influence your opinions. Make sure you focus on your working opinion and experience working with the individual when you are formulating what you plan on saying. You want to provide information based on the actions they take and the work that they’ve been doing for or with you. 
  • Provide feedback with generalities. You want to avoid providing an exaggeration of the feedback by placing some generalities within your statement such as "always" or "never." This goes back to being specific and making a point based on actual figures and situations. For example, mention a specific time they did something really well or a time where they fell short.

Mistakes to Avoid While Receiving Feedback

Receiving feedback is not always easy, but it’s something that you need to become good at if you are going to grow in your career. If you are making any of these mistakes, you want to learn how to stop them as soon as possible. Remember that the ultimate goal for receiving feedback is to learn from your weaknesses and make them strengths.

  • Not being open to feedback. It is hard to take feedback sometimes, especially when it is not positive. However, always keep in mind that the process is meant to help you grow as a person and in your role or career. This will only happen, though, if you are willing to listen and act upon it. It’s ok to have your personal interpretation on the feedback you received, but always be open to hear others out.
  • Failing to act on it. It is one thing to get some constructive criticism and it is another to act on it. Acting on feedback will help you improve how well you do your job. It also shows a proactive attitude towards your work, which all managers and colleagues would appreciate. Take the time to internalize the feedback and make it an area of focus for improvement.
  • Taking it personally. You want to internalize the feedback, use it to improve yourself, but not take it as a personal attack. Ultimately, feedback is meant to help you grow, whether in the workplace or in life. Approach feedback as a way to align expectations, not to change who you are or what you believe in.

As you can see, mistakes can be made both when giving and receiving feedback. Knowing what is expected of you and how you can avoid doing certain things can help you better approach feedback, understand expectations, and act upon them.