Feedback is a powerful tool that helps in strengthening performance in the workplace. It helps in finding loopholes and working on them at the right time.
There are two types of feedback: Positive and Constructive. While positive feedback recognizes the strengths, achievements, and successes of the employees. Constructive feedback focuses on those weak points and behaviors that need to be changed.
And most of the time, giving negative feedback is a daunting task. You need to ensure that you are not demeaning your employees.
If you are wondering how to give negative feedback to your employees, this article fits your criteria well. Keep on reading it!
When to give constructive feedback?
Giving feedback doesn’t always mean including both positive and negative feedback. You need to see the overall performance of the employees and then deliver it. You can give critical feedback when you see that:
- The problematic patterns of the employee seem to be persisting over time.
- Their performance is negatively impacting the team and workplace. It may include missing deadlines, low productivity, fewer efforts, etc.
- They are not paying attention to their tasks. Rather they are doing it just for the sake of doing it.
There could be many other reasons as well. But, those as mentioned earlier are the most common ones in the workplace.
Delivering negative feedback might be a challenging task for both managers and employees. But, it is a vital tool for them as it:
- Let them figure out their blind spots and work on them.
- Enhances their performance and productivity.
- Allows them to get in-depth and honest insights into their performance.
- Let them know what direction to take and how they can walk on that path.
- Helps in personal growth and learning.
- Make them realize that you care and support them and their goals.
Ways to give constructive feedback
While positive feedback is easy to give, the same is not the case with critical feedback. Ensure that while having this tough conversation, you are not demoralizing your employees.
Below are a few of the ways you can follow when you are giving negative feedback:
1. Give critical feedback in 1:1 meetings or privately: Such kind of feedback can be a sensitive topic for employees. They might get embarrassed which can have an adverse impact. Hence, give negative feedback privately. Avoid Email conversations too as they might get misinterpreted from either side.
This will prevent the situation from escalating. And you can have meaningful conversations with them. They will be able to understand your perspective and work on their blind spots.
You can start like this: “I went through your recent project. You did great overall. The research, the pitch, everything was on point. However, I believe there are two areas that still need improvement. Is 3 PM fine for you? We can have a 1:1 meeting and can discuss the same further.”
2. Use the KISS formula: KISS = Keep it short and simple!
Keep the feedback to the point and problem-focused. Only talk about what needs to be changed. Never ever give personal attacks on the employees.
Have conversations with your employees and try uncovering the root of the problem. But, ensure that you don’t go beyond that. Jot down talking points beforehand. So that you know what needs to be addressed and how you can both go for it.
Assume that your employee submitted the project late. The client is not happy with this as she already mentioned before that it needs to be prioritized.
You can start your feedback like this: “I want to talk to you about your work on this last project because your delay made our client unhappy. You have worked up to your full potential and had lots of sleepless nights. I believe that we should look back now and spot the roadblocks. It will help you to manage your tasks accordingly and your hard work will not be wasted. So, let’s discuss and see how can we make it easier to raise the flag on these kinds of things?”
3. Give critical feedback timely: Ensure that you deliver critical feedback on time. If your employees did something wrong, let them know immediately. And sometimes, it may happen their performance starts to decline continuously. Make sure that you let them know their blind spots as earliest as possible.
This will make them remember the details properly and have enough time to reflect. So, that they can focus on those and improve their performance.
For example, your employee has been updating you with their tasks, but not completely. Instead of waiting for a performance review, you can convey the same immediately.
Say something like this: “Thanks for the regular update on your work. I would find it helpful if you could provide more context when giving updates. As it can help me understand the situation better and provide my perspective accordingly.”
4. Get your emotions cooled down: But before you give negative feedback, cool down your emotions. Never rely on them, rather count on your facts. They will help you be logical and objective and prevent you from lashing out at your employees. Try evaluating the situation properly and give feedback in the best way you can. When you are in the right mindset, you can understand their point better and vice versa.
Suppose, there is an employee who frequently remains absent without any prior information. This leads to task delays and miscommunication among the team. The subtle way to give constructive feedback regarding this is:
“For the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing that you are seldom present in the workplace. If there are any problems you are facing, let me know how I can help you with.
I understand that we have loads of other responsibilities outside the workplace. But, you need to realize that we must treat our jobs equally. Due to this, the tasks are being delayed and you are not on the same page as other employees. I am concerned that it might affect your performance and you may be left behind by your other team members. I would like to extend you my help in every way possible to help you overcome this obstacle.”
5. Ask questions to prompt self-evaluation: Never have one-way conversations while you deliver constructive feedback. Firstly, know their perspective on doing the task. Let them analyze what they did wrong. And then come up with your feedback and the solution for the same.
It will let the employees self-evaluate their weak spots and then can together build an action plan. They may put in their ideas as well in the plan so they know they are responsible for it too.
Suppose, your employee is less engaged at the workplace. You can start your feedback like this: “I am concerned that you don’t seem to be quite as engaged at work lately. This leads to frequent task delays and projects are not up to the mark. I would want you to look back and reflect on what according to you is going wrong. We can then discuss the same and make an action plan accordingly.”
In a nutshell…
Giving feedback can be a challenging task when you are just starting out. But, with time, you will be able to deliver them successfully.
Ensure that you are not avoiding giving constructive feedback at your workplace. It might be difficult but the best way to improve your employees’ performance and growth.