Prevent Your Boss from Feedback Dumping

Picture this. You’ve been humming along doing your job and helping your team achieve its goals when you get a call about a meeting to discuss an issue that’s come up. Unable to find out the details about what’s going on, you’re totally in the dark.

So you show up at the meeting and find out that you’re the problem. And you never knew it. Sadly, this is what happens in way too many organizations.

Rather then dealing with issues as they arise through discussion and feedback, the manager you report to “saves it up” and unloads when he can’t take it anymore. Dumping feedback is not a good practice.

This manager is doing you and the organization you work for a complete disservice.

Here’s why:

  • You can’t change what you don’t know. If no one tells you what you need to correct, you can’t be expected to do things differently. I have yet to meet anyone who is a mind reader. People need to be told when different action should be taken.
  • Someone else may be picking up the slack. If you’re doing it wrong, someone else has to fix it. That means they are being taken away from what they should be doing. What a waste of time and money.
  • The information may be incorrect. Do you remember the old telephone game? Information rarely gets passed from one person to another exactly the way it happened. Everyone listens through their own filters and if you weren’t part of the discussion, an opportunity to clarify what happened has been lost.

So here’s what you need to do.

  • Ask your manager (and whoever brought the issue to his attention) to involve you in the discussion when it happens. That way you’ll have an opportunity to clarify the issue and correct it if needed.
  • Make sure you are walking this talk too. Check your behaviors to ensure you aren’t making assumptions and saving up feedback to give to your team members.

Have you ever had feedback dumped on you? How did you handle it? Please leave a comment.

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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