To build an effective team, you’ve got to do more than just hire the right people. You’ve also got to create an environment in which they can do their best work—an environment where your team members feel motivated and missional. And sometimes, that’s going to require you to offer some feedback.

The way in which you offer feedback is critical. To borrow an old proverb, it’s not what you say but how you say it. So how should leaders give their employees feedback? I’m going to answer that question a little bit backwards. Here are a few ways not to give employee feedback.

The Wrong Ways to Give Employee Feedback

Telling them they can’t do something.

As a leader, you should help your employees to feel capable and empowered. Let them know that you believe in their ability to stretch, to grow, to learn new skills, and to achieve at higher and higher levels. Phrases to avoid are ones like you just don’t have what it takes to _____.

Telling them you don’t have time.

You’ve got a lot on your plate—we all do—but providing employee feedback should be at the top of your list. Show your employees that they’re valuable to you and that you’re always willing to make time for them. Avoid phrases like I just don’t have time for this right now. If they catch you at a bad time, assure them that you want to talk, and ask to schedule a time for a little bit later in the day.

Telling them their concerns are unimportant.

If it’s important to your team members, it should be important to you. And if you feel like employees are overly concerned with inessentials, take the opportunity to hear them out, then gently remind them of your ultimate mission and values.

Telling them they’re perfect.

Your employees should realize that there is always room for improvement. That’s not to say you shouldn’t offer positive reinforcement. You should! But make sure your praise is reasonable, not hyperbolic.

These are just some of the ways in which you can hone your employee feedback. Want to work on those feedback and coaching skills one-on-one? I’d love to meet with you! Reach out today and let’s schedule some coaching sessions. Get in touch with Dr. Rick, leadership coach and motivational speaker, at or 888-267-6098.

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