Giving positive feedback is always easy, but what about those times when an employee is not performing and you need to give negative feedback? That can be a different story, especially for those who do not like confrontation. Managers need to be careful when dishing out negative feedback, and need to ensure that it is done constructively. It is important to tread carefully in order not to demoralize the employees and there are ways which can take the sting out of criticism. Most importantly when having to dish out negative feedback, it is important to always try to ensure that you also acknowledge any positives and where they employee may have achieved first. Employees respond well to compliments and are far more likely to be open to and listen to criticism if there positives are also acknowledged. That way they are less likely to feel victimized and that they can do no good.

Also try to dish out negative feedback in small doses. It can be overwhelming for an employee to be bombarded with a whole lot of things that they are not doing right, as the chances are it will all come as a surprise and if there is just too much for them to get their minds around it may just overwhelm them and they feel they are not able to do anything right and shut off. Rather schedule regular check ins with regular reports so that when giving feedback, both negative and positive will become part of the meeting. Feedback both negative and positive works best when observed regularly in the workplace.

When giving both negative and positive feedback, always get to the point and avoid beating around the bush. People tend to switch of when an employer starts to ramble and you may not get your point across effectively. Rather just be straightforward and get to the point.

Employers who avoid confrontation are more inclined to use email to deliver negative feedback. Avoid doing this, emails can be misconstrued and can send mixed signals. Rather speak to the person face to face, and ensure you do it in private. Never embarrass or humiliate an employee by pointing out any negatives in front of other people or in team meetings. The best way to give constructive feedback to an employee is to focus on the positives whilst at the same time identifying areas where there is room for growth and improvement.

It always helps to understand why the employee may be behaving in a certain way and to ask them why they would deal with things in this particular way and what was their thought process. By doing this employees are often able to not only see where they may have gone wrong but often are able to identify effective solutions once they have had a chance to have some insight into where they may have gone wrong. By asking where they may have gone wrong and what they could have done differently to get a better outcome, often helps to show an employee where they can improve things and they often are able to come up with effective suggestions themselves.

Avoid jumping to conclusions if you have noticed that en employee is arriving late and leaving early, mention that you have noticed and let them explain as to what is going on first. That way you have all the facts at hand and should have a better idea as to what is going on and how to deal with the problem. Express concern when delivering negative feedback, a tone of concern communicates a sense of care and often tone is better received than if you display anger or frustration or disappointment. Also try to ensure that you give feedback as soon as possible after the event, so that event is still clear in everybody’s minds. When feedback is given to far down the line, the impact of the feedback is lessened.

If you are going to be delivering some really horrible news that you feel is not going to go down well consider giving the employee the rest of the day off, so that they have some time to absorb what has been said and to calm down should they be very upset by it. It’s also important to remember that feedback both negative and positive is vital, and that giving effective feedback is an important function of a manager, as it promotes healthy communication within the workplace. Feedback ensures that employees are aware of how well they are doing and where they can improve. It is also important for employees to be given the opportunity to give their feedback as well, as it’s vital to know how the employee is feeling and what is going on in their minds.

The bottom line is that regardless as to whether a manager is giving negative or positive feedback, it is important for managers to communicate with their employees, and they need to ensure that they do it in such a way that the feedback is clearly understood. They also need to ensure that the employee is given the opportunity to express his or her views on the feedback, as well as understanding the plans laid out as to how their performance can be improved.

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