Is Emotionally Driven Performance Feedback a Workplace Issue? | DCR Workforce Blog

Is Emotionally Driven Performance Feedback a Workplace Issue?

Is Emotionally Driven Performance Feedback a Workplace Issue?

My friend, a training manager, is famous for her youthful looks and energetic approach to life. Over the holidays, I noticed her face was looking wan and tired, losing her usual charm. Concerned, I just came right out and asked her what was going on? The long and short of it was that her boss is a rude and extremely hurtful individual who insults and puts down everyone in the office while in routine meetings and in front of each other! Is this any way to give performance feedback and actually motivate your staff?

This manager barked at her to reduce the number of her own training sessions saying he hired her as a manager and not a trainer so she needs to hire other trainers. To add insult to injury, he said customers may find it boring to listen to her repeatedly. As a trainer with a consistent feedback score of 4.8/5, she was mortified and considered leaving the organization. I suggested that she may want to consider only taking the gist of her boss’s expectations (to hire external trainers, to manage training but not be the trainer) and ignore the manner in which the message was presented!

After all, performance evaluation and feedback are important if an organization is going to reach its strategic goals; but the manner of delivery varies by manager. It may come as positive or negative. It may be presented in the form of lavish/qualified appreciation, open/indirect criticism, advice, directive, order, verbal warning, being “written up” or even in a frown! As you go through life, it’s counterproductive to your overall welfare and growth, if you feel down over negative feedback or are overjoyed when it’s positive. Many of us are both supervisor and employee (of some sort), so we find ourselves both giving and receiving feedback.

Constructive criticism that’s really constructive

In fact, it’s good to both give and seek constructive performance feedback so you and your staff can improve where necessary. With a potentially changing contingent workforce it’s even more imperative to have a plan in place to share feedback on performance without losing your cool. Below are some questions designed to nail down specific performance-based feedback. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use the term employee.

  • What is the employee expected to achieve in his/her role?
  • Is the employee performing satisfactorily?
  • Where does the employee need to improve?
  • What’s the best use of the employee’s time?
  • What are the employee’s personal limitations?
  • What can the employee do to learn more and grow?

Timely reviews with specific performance appraisal and feedback are necessary for every individual and every organization, to let them know:

  • What their goals are and what they are supposed to achieve
  • Whether or not they are achieving their goals
  • Whether they’re doing well in all aspects of their performance or if they require improvement in a specific area
  • The impact of their performance on the business and others in the workplace
  • Ways to improve the existing standards in performance

However skilled or experienced, people need feedback when they start off on a new job. Additionally, feedback gets people back on track if they’re straying from their goals. However, anyone in a position to provide feedback needs to remember that people have a right to expect a respectful approach and fair treatment as well as support in their efforts to achieve their goals.

Behaving like my friend’s boss isn’t something effective managers do. To eliminate these and other issues, many businesses offer a 360 degree evaluation and feedback. When handled properly, feedback is structured in such a way as to motivate and energize workers to become more productive. Conversely, it also holds managers accountable to more stringent professional standards and, ideally, helps to take the emotion out of the equation.

In an ideal world, my friend’s manager would have laid out written expectations from the get-go. Then when she became more of a trainer than a manager, he could’ve gently steered her back into her managerial role by giving her positive and constructive feedback. All minus the insults, angst, strife and anxiety.

With contingent workers, a staffing buyer may not provide performance feedback directly, to avoid joint employment liability, but issues with performance can always be routed through the staffing supplier and should be addressed. How have you effectively dealt with performance issues with your contingent/non-employee workforce?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.

One response to “Is Emotionally Driven Performance Feedback a Workplace Issue?”

  1. T.J. Melken says:

    The energy of the work place and attitude of the overall staff trickles down from leadership, Management sets the tone. There is a huge difference in giving feedback to your team and /or team member to help improve performance verse being outright rude and consciously mean. Emotional Intelligence, Character, Humanity get you better results in life and leadership. Horrible article

Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.