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Turn Negative Feedback Into a Positive Experience

By Michael Heller Microfeedback

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Giving criticism can be one of the hardest parts of a manager’s job, and rightly so. Calling out one’s performance or work can be destructive to the employee’s engagement level and the overall state of mind if delivered in the wrong way. Positive feedback is easy to give and receive, but is it helpful to only convey the positive and ignore constructive feedback? Research says no. 92% of respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” Here’s how to give your employees the feedback they may not want, but need.

Can give it, but can’t take it? Learn the truth behind giving and receiving negative #feedback: Click To Tweet

When and Where

Issues should be addressed within a reasonable time window. Too soon and the risk of tempers and emotions come into play. Too long and memories of events transpired can become diluted. Find a time to meet in person with your employee the same week. Send the employee an email requesting a time to meet that works for both schedules. Briefly mention what the meeting will be about to not catch the employee off guard. Employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly 3x more engaged than those with managers who don’t regularly communicate.

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Use Metrics, Keep Emotions Out

At the end of the day, this employee is a human being at a job. Always be respectful and never let the heat of the situation damage the way you treat others. Negative feedback can be hard to digest, but when delivered objectively with honesty and using only the facts, the situation is hard to contest. Back yourself up with metrics, goals, job duties or anything else concrete that can be referenced. Did he miss a stated deadline? Has she been failing to hit her weekly goals for the past month? Comparing the performance against an agreed-upon yardstick proves your point.

“The best way to give feedback is to be honest, direct and as specific as possible on examples of the issue and what you would have done. It’s important not to be nasty, but it’s equally as important not to sugarcoat a real problem. The goal is improvement, not babying your employees,” he says. “Good feedback is just as important as negative feedback.”

-Vincenzo Villamena, CEO of U.S. expat tax service Online Taxman

professionals collaborating at table

Focus on a Solution

Dwelling on the situation will only cause more stress and negative energy for both manager and employee. What happened, happened. Work with the employee to find a solution together. It’s not about proving how much better you would have done at the task, or going into detail about the situation again. Focus on the next steps and what success will look like in the future.

Instead of: “You are late with your deadlines and sloppy with the work you do turn in.”

Try:  “I can see your workload has been more than in the past. I think we can work together on how to better organize your schedule. What are your thoughts?”

Use the S.M.A.R.T. Feedback Framework

Walk the Walk

If you talk the talk, then you should be able to walk the walk, right? Receiving feedback, both positive and negative, as a manager is helpful to your own work. How can you expect your employees to take and run with their feedback if you can’t with yours? It all starts with the top. Establishing a feedback culture at the beginning by carrying an open mindset, soliciting feedback, and creating a positive experience behind every feedback interaction that takes place.

Learn how to turn negative #feedback into a positive experience for you and your employee. Click To Tweet

A Positive Experience

More than 75% of respondents believe that feedback is valuable. About 45% of respondents also value feedback from their peers and clients or customers, yet less than 30% said they receive it. Opening up the communication channels can only benefit you and your employee. Giving negative feedback isn’t a party, but when given at the proper time and with supporting facts, it will be the catalyst for change in your employee and organization.

Michael Heller

Posted By Michael Heller

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