Because you’re probably just annoying.
It’s no mystery that consistent feedback helps cultivate anything from relationships to organizations. In offices, we ask for feedback to do our jobs better. Among friends, we want feedback to be certain we’re doing right by them.
Feedback, candor, and honesty are often regarded as helpful and constructive. Most people have a problem with either giving and receiving feedback. As a result, most of the literature out there is speaks to those groups.
Let’s say you don’t fall into either of those camps. You LOVE feedback! You give feedback All. The. Time!
Yet, though you’re committing to giving feedback, you’ve noticed your teammates aren’t quite as enthusiastic about your consistent feedback. Worse, it feels like they’re increasingly in denial or arguing with you about the issues you’re raising.
Is it Them? Or is it Me?
An inability to accept feedback is, admittedly, an employee performance issue. In certain instances, it can highlight a lack of character or maturity.
Yet, if you’re noticing a pattern among a variety of people, or if the response you’re getting increases in firmness or intensity, it is worth considering if you are the problem.
It’s likely your feedback is causing you more damage than you think.
The Problem with Too Much Feedback
Recently, a friend and colleague confided in me that they were noticing they were getting push back to their regular feedback. After doing some perfunctory investigating, we determined their team is feeling Feedback Fatigue, or mental resistance to too much feedback.
Feedback Fatigue can cause rifts in working relationships, make teammates feel unnecessarily wary of their actions, and cause a breakdown in future communication.
Most importantly, too much negative feedback can damage the reputation of the feedback giver — an unexpected outcome for someone who is usually trying to provide solutions to those around them. Sadly, you might just be coming off as a complainer or a critic — neither of which add to employee morale.
What To Do If You Suspect You’re Giving Too Much Feedback
Fortunately, you can take steps in a more constructive direction. Your reputation isn’t ruined, and you’re not a big jerk who’s been hurting everyone’s feelings (only you will know if that last part is accurate, but I’ll leave that to you to decide).
Here are the steps you can take for your feedback to be taken seriously again.
1 — Ask yourself some tough questions.
You can’t rectify a situation until you have a good idea of the actions you’ve been taking. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
How much time do I spend giving negative feedback?
How much time do I spend giving positive feedback?
How am I giving feedback currently? What do I normally say?
Am I providing solutions along with my feedback, or am I only telling them what they’re doing wrong and expecting them to figure out the rest on their own?
Now that you’ve taken some time to consider what you’re doing, let’s discuss some action steps to take moving forward.
2 — Go on a Feedback Diet
I recognize this is asking a lot of someone whose default setting is to give feedback whenever possible. However, if you’re suspecting you’ve caused Feedback Fatigue, you may want to take a break from feedback for enough time to see your relationships and concerns with more clarity.
Focusing on feedback could blind you from seeing the situation as it truly is. If you are jumping at any opportunity to give feedback, you are likely not taking a moment to pause and consider the context in which the infraction is taking place.
Further, you may notice the way your teammates react to you when you approach them. Do they appear to be guarded or defensive? Do they seem wary or even afraid of talking with you? Reserving your feedback in favor of observation could illuminate fissures you didn’t know existed.
3 — Choose Your Battles, and Choose Less Battles
Not every concern requires immediate feedback. Issues often resolve themselves with time, or there can be circumstances that are causing issues in isolated cases.
After your diet, try adding feedback into your day-to-day slowly. When the desire to give feedback arises, ask yourself if it’s necessary to give feedback right now, and if you’re the right person to give it. Perhaps others have already mentioned this issue to the offender and they’ve started working on it. Or, maybe it’s not your place to give this feedback — their supervisor or desk partner would better carry the message.
You may choose to skip speaking up entirely, only to find it become a non-issue after a few days.
Once you’ve determined you’ve been destructive instead of constructive, you can begin reconnecting with your teammates in ways that help everyone become better at their roles. These tips are only the beginning of a new path, but they set a strong foundation for productively communicating with others.
Before you know it, people will listen to your feedback again.
Jamie E. Hammond is a Social Media Manager by day and Indoor Cycling Instructor by midday. She sleeps at night. She is a competitively trained public speaker and holds a B.S. in Sociology from Bradley University. Her interests include: learning about what makes people commit to their workplace, her husband, her fur-babies (dogs), and her feather-babies (chickens). Join the mailing list.