8 Reasons Why the Feedback You Are Giving is NOT Helping?

“Why should I keep wasting my time providing feedback to the people on my team when they don’t listen? It’s definitely not helpin!” These words were coming at me from a coaching client who was fed up with the whole idea of providing regular, constructive feedback to the people on her team.

Previously, she and I had agreed that the best way to invest in developing the people on her team was to provide regular feedback on their performance intentionally. In my experience, this is the best way a leader can add value to the lives of the people with whom they work.

8 Reasons Why Your Feedback May Not Be Working

As I thought about her comments and what she was experiencing with the people on her team, I suggested that one or more of the following eight reasons might be undermining her feedback process.

Are any of these true about you?

  1. Are you leaning on your authority (your position) or your influence? Have you earned the right to be heard by others, or do you depend on your title as the boss (or parent) to make the message stick?
  2. Are you dictating the feedback or using a combination of great questions and inviting a conversation? For example, “One thing I really liked was “this”; and one area I thought you could improve was “that”; what do you think?”
  3. Are you listening to the person to whom you are providing feedback? What is their perception of your observations?
  4. Are you delivering a monologue, or is your feedback session a dialogue? Inviting them to speak about what you are offering is a great way to get them to take ownership of the opportunity to grow.
  5. What is the outcome you hope for after delivering feedback to someone on your team? Are you trying to be right or manipulate better performance for your purposes? Or, are you genuinely exhibiting that you care about this person and their growth and development?
  6. Are you waiting too long after an event to provide the feedback, or are you offering feedback in real-time or as close to when you observed the performance?
  7. Is your feedback “future-focused,” or are you simply complaining about something that happened in the past that we can no longer do anything about?
  8. Is your communication style causing defensiveness in the person you are communicating with? If what they interpret from your input is nothing close to what you intended, you may need to increase your empathy and let the other person you know you too have struggled with similar situations.

Providing feedback that leads to positive change is an ongoing learning process for us all. Take some time to think through how effective you are at delivering feedback, and if you see the results, you are hoping to see.


Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with the John Maxwell Company’s Corporate Solutions Group as well as a published author. He has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.