If you provide employees with feedback at the beginning of the year, you’re likely faced with the difficult situation of sharing some points that aren’t necessarily easy to give. Negative feedback is always a challenge, especially when you don’t want to damage the relationship and prefer to help the person succeed.
How you give negative feedback can play a substantial role in how it’s received, so approaching it the right way can make all of the difference. With that in mind, here are some tips for providing constructive criticism for when the need arises.
Focus on Business
Yes, giving a negative review is hard, but it is also necessary if the company is going to thrive. As a member of management, it is your job to ensure your team is operating at peak efficiency, and that can require sharing some constructive criticism.
Without a correction, the worker may continue down the same path, harming operations, productivity or profitability. By remembering this, you can maintain a stance of supporting the greater good. Just make sure that you don’t deliver the bad news with an aggressive, threatening, or offensive tone, as constructive criticism isn’t just better received in most cases, but it also typically yields better results.
Sometimes, your employees are more aware of their short-comings than you may realize, and a self-assessment is an excellent way to discover who they believe they are going. It gives you insights into how they perceive the quality of their work, giving you a chance to examine whether it aligns with your own.
If the worker is seeing the same trouble spots that you are, the conversation may actually be easier to have, especially since you can lead off with what they had to say before segueing into your observations. When the points don’t align, you are at least aware of their perspective, which can help you shape the conversation.
When an employee isn’t meeting expectations, it’s important to provide clear examples that demonstrate the issue. Often, by referring to specific incidents, it is easier for the staff member to understand your perspective, particularly if there is a pattern of a less than stellar performance.
However, if you can only come up with a single example, it’s bested not to dwell on it. Everyone makes the occasional mistake, so it may not be an issue that actually needs a correction, especially if the learned from their misstep and it hasn’t been repeated.
While you may have noticed an issue in the employee’s performance, you might not know the whole story regarding why it is occurring. There may be a challenge associated with some of the work that isn’t in your purview, or the worker may be wrestling with a personal issue that is harming productivity.
Even if the negative point must be addressed, be adaptable as you learn more about the surrounding circumstances. You may discover that the issue isn’t actually with the employee, or that a bit of leniency may be in order.
Ultimately, providing negative feedback should be beneficial to the employee as well as the company. The goal should be to help them improve, not just tear them down. Provide suggestions on how they can get better and reiterate any expectations that may not have been clear. Then document the meeting and monitor their progress to see if they are moving forward. That way, you can follow up properly and ensure things are headed in the right direction.