Pitfalls when providing feedback to peers

Luk De Clerck

Co-founder, game creator

Giving feedback to peers can be a challenging task, and there are several pitfalls to avoid. It is important to remember that feedback can have a significant impact on the recipient’s motivation, self-esteem, and overall performance, so it is crucial to approach it with care and consideration. In this article, we will discuss some common pitfalls to avoid when giving peer feedback.

  1. Being too vague or general One of the most common pitfalls when giving feedback is being too vague or general. For example, saying “you need to improve your communication skills” does not provide specific information on what the person needs to work on or how they can improve. To avoid this, it is important to provide concrete and specific feedback that is actionable and measurable.
  2. Focusing only on the negative Another pitfall is focusing only on the negative aspects of the person’s performance. This can be demotivating and may cause the recipient to become defensive. It is important to balance the feedback by highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement.
  3. Being too critical or harsh Being too critical or harsh when giving feedback can also be a pitfall. It can cause the recipient to feel attacked or demotivated, and may not lead to the desired behavior change. It is important to approach feedback with a supportive and constructive tone, and provide specific suggestions for improvement.
  4. Not considering the recipient’s perspective When giving feedback, it is important to consider the recipient’s perspective and to be aware of their emotional state. Feedback that is delivered insensitively or without consideration of the recipient’s feelings may not be well received. It is important to approach the conversation with empathy and to listen actively to the recipient’s response.
  5. Not following up Following up on feedback is important to ensure that the recipient is making progress and to provide additional support if needed. Not following up can lead to the recipient feeling unsupported and not motivated to improve.

In conclusion, giving feedback to peers can be a challenging task, and there are several pitfalls to avoid. By being specific and actionable, balancing positive and negative feedback, approaching the conversation with empathy, providing specific suggestions for improvement, and following up, you can avoid these pitfalls and provide effective feedback that supports individual and team growth.


  • “Giving Effective Feedback: A Guide for Employees,” Harvard Business Review, March 2020
  • “The Right Way to Give and Receive Feedback,” Harvard Business Review, March-April 2021
  • “Giving Feedback to Peers: Tips to Make It Effective,” SHRM.org, November 2019


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