5 Things to Avoid Saying During Employee Feedback

Linda LaitalaEmployees, Leadership, ManagementLeave a Comment

Your team is important to you. They’re your backbone and the last thing you want is a team of dissatisfied employees. Your business success is largely in the hands of your team and that can be a tightrope to navigate. Providing feedback to those employees is a crucial to running an efficient and successful business. Frankly, it’s impossible to avoid, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy task. If there’s anything we can be certain of in business it’s that language is massively important—we match our language to the audience and adjust it depending on the results we’re looking for. The same thing can be said for interacting with our employees. As the boss, discussing job performance with your employees is inevitable, but you can avoid conversational pitfalls them by avoiding these 5 things during performance reviews.

“If you want to succeed”

There are many definitions of success, and your employee might define success differently. Your definition of success does not determine how or if your employee is successful. Not only can this phrase come off as passive aggressive and offensive, it may also sound threatening if it’s used in a job performance review.


“How Would You Rate Your Performance?”

First of all, it’s not the employee’s job to rate anyone. That’s your job as the boss or manager. And, let’s be honest, very few, if any, employee is going to say anything other than what they think you want to hear. A great employee is going to question why you’re asking and a struggling employee is probably going to claim they’re doing better than they actually are. The point of giving employee feedback is to point out places for improvement and/or to acknowledge employee successes. Asking someone to rate themselves is just wasting everyone’s time.



‘Fine’ can make you sound weak and mediocre, not to mention indecisive. No employee wants to hear that the project they’ve been working on all week is just “fine.” It also doesn’t provide the employee with much of a gauge as to how to improve, or if they even need to. Try being more specific instead.



Using “seems” seems to be weak and indecisive, much like using the word ‘fine.’ It’s weak if you’re using it to avoid being honest about employee work not being up to par, and it’s indecisive if you’re using it because you can’t make up your mind about how you feel about something. Try saying exactly what you mean instead.


“Be more like”

They say that comparison is the root of all evil. Don’t compare people, especially not your employees during a performance review. If you think an employee would do better if they behaved or worked in a certain way, get to the root of the problem and provide concrete examples for improvement.

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