Develop your feedback-giving ability as a true leader by avoiding these mistakes

The year has almost come to an end, and the time for the annual appraisal interviews between companies and their employees has come… But don’t we want to look ahead rather than looking back nowadays? With projects that are shorter and that alternate with each other quickly, it no longer seems fitting to give your employees feedback and assess them only once a year.

More and more large companies in the Netherlands, such as Eneco, insurance companies ASR and Achmea, ING, Randstad and T-Mobile, agree with this and say goodbye to the traditional appraisal interview.

However, the big question is: how do you organize feedback? What is effective?

We believe in feedback as a collective and especially continuous instrument. So no longer a tool from and for you only, as a director, manager or team leader, but a continuous feedback loop from and for everyone in – and perhaps even outside – your organization. So that everyone is always aware of how things are going, where they stand and what they can work on.

Before you get started with this new method of feedback, we want to highlight three common feedback errors that you can tackle immediately!


Giving personal feedback is at odds with the fact that we don’t like to tell each other the truth. But feedback ought to be as specific as possible. By skirting around the edges of the true issue in fear of offending or upsetting your employee, you run the risk of the same mistakes being made over and over again. By being direct and having examples of what is (and isn’t!) the issue, you are allowing your employee the opportunity to achieve growth. The more specific, the better.

2. Sugar-coating

A common method utilized when giving feedback is to use the “feedback sandwich” – a compliment, a criticism, and a compliment. However, this method of giving feedback is ineffective and teaches your employees to be suspicious when receiving compliments. Instead, be direct when giving feedback. Your employees will value honest feedback more than superficial compliments. Give regular, positive feedback to your employees so when the negative feedback inevitably arrives, they will understand that their success is your priority.

3. Lateness

You should aim to give feedback as soon as possible. If you recognize an issue, do not wait till the performance review to bring it up if you want the behavior to change – the closer feedback is to when the undesired behavior occurred, the more likely it is that it will change! Further, providing feedback in smaller chunks will help to avoid any nasty surprises for employees during performance reviews.

* This knowledge blog has been compiled by the Organizational Psychologist of 2DAYSMOOD and is originally part of the E-learning database within our measurement platform. In this way we support HR, managers and teams to move from data to action.