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Bad Feedback Examples



I'm preparing a course on feedback skills training and wondered if anyone can give me some good examples they've heard on poor feedback i.e. "That was a good effort for you". or "We need to see some improvement in your work/performance". I'm intending to use them in an exercise where they have to turn them round into contructive feedback comments.

Kind Regards
Linda George

11 Responses

  1. – Feedback
    Linda please find some examples below:-

    – “That was ok but you need to do XXX next time”
    – “You have some areas of weakness we have to work on”
    – “I thought that went really badly, what about you?”
    – “What on earth did you do that for?”
    – “3 out of 10 for giving it a go!”
    – “I’ve got a list of development areas, how many do you think you have?”
    – “I can’t believe you just said that, what were you thinking?”

    All examples I have witnessed in business being delivered as so called feedback – glad to say after training and coaching they realised that none of the above were effective, positive ways of delivering feedback, in-fact concluding they are very direct subjective criticism’s of people….thank god!

    kindest regards

  2. I picked these up years ago.
    Inappropriate Appraisal Comments

    1 Since the last PPDR, he has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

    2 His staff would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.

    3 I personally would not allow this employee to breed.

    4 Works well when under constant supervision and when cornered like a rat in a trap.

    5 When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there.

    6 He would be out of his depth in a puddle, after a very long dry summer.

    7 This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

    8 He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

    9 This member of staff should go far – and the sooner the better.

    10 This member of staff is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

    Performance Appraisal Terms And Their Real Meanings
    AVERAGE EMPLOYEE – Not too bright
    EXCEPTIONALLY WELL QUALIFIED – Made no major blunders yet
    ACTIVE SOCIALLY – Drinks a lot
    FAMILY IS ACTIVE SOCIALLY – Spouse drinks, too
    CHARACTER ABOVE REPROACH – Gave false name and address to police
    ZEALOUS ATTITUDE – Opinionated
    QUICK THINKING – Offers plausible excuses
    CAREFUL THINKER – Won’t make a decision
    TAKES PRIDE IN WORK – Conceited
    PLANS FOR ADVANCEMENT – Buys drinks for everyone
    FORCEFUL – Argumentative
    AGGRESSIVE – Obnoxious
    USES LOGIC ON DIFFICULT JOBS – Gets someone else to do it
    A KEEN ANALYST – Thoroughly confused
    HAS LEADERSHIP QUALITIES – Is tall or has a loud voice
    KEEN SENSE OF HUMOUR – Knows a lot of dirty jokes
    CAREER MINDED – Back Stabber and knows who to blame
    COMING ALONG WELL – About to be made redundant
    OF GREAT VALUE TO THE ORGANISATION – Gets to work on time
    RELAXED ATTITUDE – Falls asleep on the job
    WORK IS FIRST PRIORITY – Just plain ugly
    INDEPENDENT WORKER – Nobody knows what he/she does
    FORWARD THINKING – Procrastinator
    GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Spends lots of time on phone
    LOYAL – Can’t get a job anywhere else

  3. old favourites!
    get a grip,
    pull your socks up,
    sort it out,
    sort yourself out,
    pull yourself together,
    just do it,
    do it my way,
    you don’t want to do it like that,
    haven’t you learned anything?
    tut, tut, tut,
    if you don’t know how to do it by now you’ll never learn,
    just get on with it,
    what are you like?
    what am I going to do with you?

    Will no one rid me of this upstart priest?

    and my personal favourite

    oh, well if I wanted the job doing properly I should have known……

    it is also worth considering the full gamut of non verbal messages which can form a large part of feedback

    I hope this helps

  4. Thank you for your replies.
    Thank you to everyone who sent in some examples. They will make very good examples for the feedback session.
    Garry I have to say your examples of Performance Appraisal Terms & their real meanings have given us all a laugh (and a quick sneaky look at any old appraisal forms in case any of the phrases have appeared on them).

  5. Alternative exercise
    Hi Linda

    As a quick exercise at the end of the session I have a sheet with 100 ways of saying well done. Ask them to come up with as many as they can. Email me at sue[at]people-solutions[dot]co[dot]uk if you’d like a copy.



  6. You want bad feedback?
    I’ll give you bad feedback…
    1) You are always posting these questions here, asking other people for their ideas but not coming up with any yourself. (Globalising the issue, exaggerating the flow-on effects)
    2) I’m sick of reading your questions (personalising the experience – an affront on the manager)
    3) Yes, well done. Really well done. Not! (Sarcasm, my personal “anti”-favourite)
    4) Posting questions on TrainingZone again are you? Why can’t you be more like John? He comes up with all his own ideas, and is quicker too! (Comparing unfavourably to other employees)
    5) Oh well, I suppose it’s ok for YOU to ask questions of other people. You know what you are like. (Patronising)

    Right, there you go. Obviously I don’t actually think any of these things about you Linda! Just thought it was an interesting way to come up with a few bad feedback approaches/tactics that, because I can recognise them as being bad, I hopefully don’t use with my team!! I’m sure there are plenty more but these were the few I could come up with at short notice.

    Good luck,

  7. Feedback ‘rules’
    Feedback is not opinion and should be:

    Specific and concrete
    Examples are given
    Descriptive and non-evaluative
    It must be realistic
    Consistent and fair
    Supportive of personal development
    Owned by the giver
    It is not ‘advice’ it is a measurement against ‘agreed’ standards
    and it needs to separate the personal ‘values’ from the work attitude or performance problem

    Also remember to give positive feedback

    Oh bad feedback just do the opposite of what I’ve listed above. i.e. tell them how stupid they are or compare them with others in the workplace or tell them that the boss thinks etc…


  8. about as sensitive as a train wreck
    As a secondee in an organisation wanting me to ‘hit the ground running’, I was told in an appraisal that:
    a) I had asked more questions about the work in my first two weeks than the rest of the team put together in two years; b) My trouble was that I was deep whhile my manager was shallow; and c): I was a square ppeg in a round hole. Inspiring don’t you think?

  9. An example
    A colleague of mine received feedback which simply said -“Pretty good, considering…”

    Kind regards,


  10. Feedback comments that miss the objective
    I think the responses here are quite good. So rather than repeating something similar, let me add some feedback comments that miss the objective, which is to get results.

    “That was good”: No specific value has been mentioned
    “Thanks for staying over a couple of weeks ago to help me out”: Way too late.
    “Thanks. Your team did really well.”: How about the individual? What was his/her contribution?
    “I am not happy with the way you handled the project.”: Try constructive feedback as opposed to negative feedback.

    You can find more material on feedback and influence in Training Resources

    Hope this helps.

  11. Feedback comments
    Some gems:
    “He confuses company assets with personal assets”
    “He shouldn’t refer to his secretary as his ‘little Chiken Tikka Massala'”


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