They Said What?! The Worst Feedback Ever Heard

Guest Contributorby Elias Rassi | Posted | Performance Management

They Said What?! The Worst Feedback Ever Heard

Raise your hand if you’ve ever received feedback from your manager or colleague on your performance that left you thinking, “Did they really just say that?!”

*A wave of hands appears*

I can’t say I’m surprised. At some point, we’ve all heard feedback – good or bad – that’s left us scratching our heads because it fails to have any real impact.

Since we had some fun with the concept of feedback last year on April Fools’ Day, we thought we’d do something a little different this year.

So, we asked some of our customers, “What’s the best ‘worst’ piece of feedback you’ve ever been given or heard?”

Here’s what they said and how we reacted:

"You are so smart, so I'm not sure why you chose to do something so dumb."

"Your performance is a 3.5. You really want to be a 4."

"You’d be more productive if you were in better shape."

A manager once told a colleague they didn't follow instructions. My colleague had a lot of projects on the go, so they asked the manager to clarify which instructions they were referring to specifically. The manager said, "All of it!"

"If I could fire you, I would."

"Your performance is okay."

Giving feedback is serious business

We know organizations are eager to reinvent how they manage employee performance. And while the process of performance appraisals differs from organization to organization, talking about performance and the process of continuous feedback is most important, not how employees are rated. The best approach to performance management is developing employees at every opportunity with good coaching and meaningful feedback all year long.

When performed well, one-to-one coaching and feedback conversations are proven to drive employee engagement and development, resulting in better employee performance. After all, the more timely and detailed the feedback is, the more employees learn about the behaviors that lead to high performance.

As leadership expert and author Ken Blanchard often says, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

So, make sure you’re giving your healthy dose.

Dig in!

There’s A Better Way to Do Performance Management

This is your practical guide to help you reinvent your performance management process, one step at a time.


Lean More
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There’s A Better Way to Do Performance Management

This is your practical guide to help you reinvent your performance management process, one step at a time.


Lean More


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