The feedback loop-de-loop occurs when feedback is poorly communicated, lacks specificity, or is not acted upon. This leads to frustration, disengagement, and decreased motivation, which in turn leads to lower performance, further ineffective feedback, and a continued decline in productivity.
One of the main causes of ineffective feedback is a lack of specificity. When feedback is too general or vague, it can be difficult for individuals to understand what they need to do to improve. For example, if a manager tells an employee that their work is “not up to par,” it may be unclear what specific actions the employee needs to take to improve. In contrast, specific feedback that highlights areas for improvement and provides actionable steps for addressing them can be much more effective. A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that “specific feedback leads to better performance than general feedback, regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative.”
Another common cause of ineffective feedback is poor communication. Feedback that is not delivered clearly or with empathy can be demotivating and lead to disengagement. Additionally, feedback that is delivered in a public or confrontational manner can be particularly damaging. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that “perceived threat to self-esteem and perceived unfairness of feedback are related to reduced receptiveness to feedback, reduced motivation to improve, and less favorable reactions to feedback providers.”
Finally, ineffective feedback can lead to a lack of action. When feedback is not acted upon, individuals may feel that their efforts are futile and lose motivation. This can lead to a further decline in performance and a continued cycle of ineffective feedback.
To break the feedback loop-de-loop, it is important to provide specific, actionable feedback that is delivered with empathy and in a private setting. Additionally, it is important to follow up on feedback and ensure that individuals have the resources and support they need to take action and improve. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that “feedback that is delivered in a supportive manner and that is followed by coaching and development resources is more likely to lead to improved performance than feedback that is not followed by coaching and development resources.”
In conclusion, effective feedback is essential for organizational success. However, when feedback is ineffective, it can lead to a vicious cycle of decreased productivity known as the feedback loop-de-loop. To break this cycle, it is important to provide specific, actionable feedback that is delivered with empathy and in a private setting, and to follow up on feedback with coaching and development resources. By doing so, organizations can create a culture of continuous improvement and achieve greater levels of success.