Sensitive items to avoid in feedback and comments

As people managers, the goal for giving regular feedback and constructive comments, is to enable each employee to perform at their best. As we all know from personal experience, even feedback with the best of intentions, could be counter-productive if it was perceived by the recipient as negative or offensive. Not only does it not achieve our goal, it could have a negative impact on performance and morale.

Here is a list of some of the things to avoid when you are providing feedback or constructive comments to your direct report.

Steering clear of these items does not mean important issues should to be ignored. In fact, the opposite is true. Your feedback and comments should be focused on the employee’s work performance and professional conduct. Keeping away from these sensitive items means you can be sure your personal biases (which we all suffer from) won’t taint your message – resulting in clearer communication.

  • Items to avoid

  • Age
  • Gender

    • male/female
    • attire
    • pregnancy
    • transgender
  • Sexual preference
  • Ethnicity/Race
  • Religion
  • Disabilities

    • physical
    • mental
    • other medical conditions
  • Personal associations

    • political views
    • hobbies
    • club memberships
    • voluntary commitments
  • Socioeconomic factors

    • income level
    • family arrangement
    • level of education (non-vocational)
  • Personal attack/Offensive comments

    • blame
    • accusation
    • insult
    • overly negative
    • threat
    • putdown

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A critical component for every kind of manager is being able to give feedback. At the end of the day, all you want feedback to do is one of two things:

  • Reinforce good behaviour
  • Correct poor behaviour
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How to conduct one-on-ones

One on one check-in meetings are held between a team leader and team member.

They are conversations that usually last no longer than 10 to 20 minutes where they discuss what is going well and what needs to change.

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Our performance management system includes an objective library to make setting goals easier. The library includes pre-written goals that can be modified based on the roles in your organisation and the strategic plan.