Let’s face it: it’s hard receiving negative feedback, but it’s equally hard being the one giving it.
As a manager, you notice that one or some of your employees is not performing well. However, you might be reluctant to offer honest feedback as you fear offending them, which will downgrade their performance even more. You also want to avoid straining your relationship with them at all costs. Nevertheless, you need them to change, so delivering that feedback is the right thing to do.
It turns out that there are good and bad ways of giving feedback to your employees. Here are five tips for doing it the right way.
1. Use AND instead of BUT
Bill Gross, Founder and CEO of Idealab, writes on LinkedIn that one of the most important keys for delivering feedback is to use AND instead of BUT. This means when voicing your concerns, don’t say, “You are on track with this project, BUT your performance…” as they may get defensive, paranoid or become overwhelmed with anxiety which does not help them to improve their performance.
Instead, use AND. Saying “You are on track with this project, AND discussing the next steps with your seniors will improve the outcomes exponentially,” works better.
2. Be prompt
When an employee makes a mistake, don’t wait until the next quarter performance review to point it out. Immediately settle the issue at hand while the situation is still fresh in your mind.
3. Focus on the issue, not the person
If the issue is punctuality, specifically talk about that, not about how lazy your employee is or how he/she has no respect for a higher authority. That’s not the case. The issue is simply punctuality.
4. Give positive reviews
Your employees makes mistakes but chances are, they have done many great things too. Don’t only give negative feedback and demands for change. Highlight their strengths and accomplishments as well so they know that you are a mentor who wants to help them grow and exceed their potentials.
5. Listen and work on solutions together
Delivering feedback might be necessary, but it is more important to listen to what your employees have to say and work on solutions together. Simply pointing out the problem is not going to solve it, but working on solutions will help.
The most important thing when giving feedback is to assure your employees that you are not there to judge him, rather to help them. Once they know that you are there because you genuinely care about them, they will be more open to what you have to say.