Feedback is for Suckers

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How many times have you heard that feedback is a gift? Let me tell you a little HR secret: that’s bullshit.

There is valid, every-day-feedback that is constructive and well-intentioned. It goes a little something like this:

  • Turn down the music in your cubicle. You’re bugging me.
  • You eat during conference calls and forget to mute the phone. It’s gross.
  • Sometimes you interrupt when I’m talking, and that’s rude. Shut up and learn something.

Totally valid feedback, right? You deserve to know when you are being an asshole, and HR appreciates an employee who is humble & gracious enough to step outside her comfort zone and become a better person. That’s what life is all about.

In return for your good behavior, I want to acknowledge the other type of feedback — the kind that you are given in most performance reviews and 360 evaluations. If I’m being honest, most of THAT feedback is bullshit. Seriously, in the grand scheme of things, the amorphous feedback from your supervisor related to your ‘soft skills’ doesn’t mean anything.

If anything, I owe you an apology (as your HR Diva) for not giving your supervisor some feedback that goes a little something like this:

  • You are doing more harm than good. Your performance evaluations suck. You need a management lesson and you need to grow a heart. Fast.

It’s not that your manager is wrong, necessarily. Maybe you’re not a team player, and maybe you don’t always see the bigger picture. You probably don’t have vision or good leadership skills. Most feedback is just silly, though, and it misses the greater point: you are a fine human being with pretty good skills.

It’s no secret that you will never be the CEO; however, we know you work hard and have a big heart. We don’t say it enough, but your management team appreciates your work ethic. We know you put in 40+ hours/week, raise your children, donate money to local charities, and find time to volunteer your time at the local community center. (It’s kind of cool, actually.)

Furthermore, I know that your supervisor doesn’t thank you enough for your daily efforts in improving shareholder value. It’s easy to joke and say thanks for not putting gum under your desk; it’s more challenging to take the time and genuinely thank you for trying to make a difference at your job over the past year.

Feedback is for suckers, yo, but I suspect that you already knew this. You are cool, you let the nonsense roll of your back, and you don’t take your job and the inter-company bullshit too seriously. That’s why you are absolutely punk rock.

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