Giving employees feedback has a tendency to make people uncomfortable. The fear of being considered mean, or not knowing exactly how to best deliver negative feedback is enough to make a meeting with an employee awkward or confusing. But, not offering direct feedback to an employee, especially when they are doing something wrong, is actually more inconsiderate than providing constructive feedback. Here are some ways to make giving negative feedback easier and more effective:
Consider Your Way of Communicating
You and your employee may have different ideas of how you want negative feedback given to you. Make sure you know what your employee will be most comfortable with hearing. Whether that’s taking time to break the ice first, or cutting straight to the quick, understanding your employee’s preferred communication style will make delivering negative feedback more comfortable.
If providing feedback out loud feels uncomfortable, simply writing things down before a meeting can be beneficial. It allows you to organize your thoughts, feel less afraid, and avoid confusing your employee.
Waiting for the right moment to give feedback will only result in a long list of things your employee is doing wrong, with some items being extremely outdated. Making a habit of giving corrections in the moment not only helps your employee have better context, but it helps you to feel less uncomfortable.
This might seem counterproductive, but creating a positive environment will help your employees understand and apply feedback better. Develop good relationships with your employees. If your employees know your feedback is coming from an understanding place, they will be more likely to accept and apply the feedback. Make sure you are giving positive feedback more often than negative feedback. Employees will feel more motivated if they are recognized for their good work.
Complete honesty allows for very little confusion when it comes to feedback. Of course, brutal honesty isn’t always the way to go, especially in direct contact with people. But trying to cover up good, negative feedback can be just as inefficient. Don’t try to hide negative feedback between compliments. It can confuse employees, or lead them to believe they have nothing to change.
Delivering negative feedback is an uncomfortable necessity in business. Apply these tips to make it easier with your employees.