Feedback (2): Why it is so rarely used

What it’s all about

Only just under 10% of people in leadership roles, across all sectors, give their staff professional feedback on their performance. At the same time, however, most employees want precisely this reflection of their work. There are many reasons for the lack of feedback.

Many reasons, one negative consequence

Considering a multitude of work-saving and success-enhancing advantages that professional feedback management offers, the question arises why it is so rarely used. The reasons for this are manifold:

  • Lack of awareness

Some supervisors do not realise the importance of feedback, nor do they understand how it can help improve staff performance. Some also believe that staff know everything they should know to do their jobs and therefore do not need feedback.

  • Lack of time

Managers often have many commitments and, as a result, little time. At the same time, if feedback sessions are given low priority compared to other activities, they are often not carried out at all. Others fear that the staff contacts themselves will take up a lot of time and thus affect their time management.

  • Insufficient skills

A feeling of insecurity is also a reason: those affected here have never learned how to implement feedback effectively and communicate it properly, or are unsure how staff will react. This leads to feedback discussions being avoided.

  • Divergent understanding of leadership

Still others believe that it is simply not necessary to give feedback to their employees at all, since mistakes would be punished anyway.

  • Lack of priority

In some organisations, feedback is simply not part of the corporate culture. As a consequence, if it is not seen as an important tool for improving employee performance, supervisors are unlikely to offer it regularly or as a matter of principle.

  • Fears

The majority of supervisors, however, avoid feedback for fear of conflict or uncomfortable conversations. They want to avoid employees interpreting the feedback as critical or negative and the work atmosphere being strained.