One of the most powerful tool’s at a manager’s disposal to strengthen performance at the workplace is providing Feedback. Positive feedback intends to focus on identifying and reinforcing the type of behaviours which helps in promoting high levels of performance. Negative feedback which is also referred to as constructive feedback intends to focus on identifying and promoting change in behaviours which helps to detract from displaying high levels of performance at the workplace.
Feedback, whether positive or negative, tends to be effective when it is provided as close to the occurrence. Employee’s who are motivated tend to appreciate both positive and constructive feedback alike. However, most of the managers find it uncomfortable to deliver negative or constructive feedback. Surveys have revealed that managers, who seem to struggle with delivering negative feedback, feel that they may not be liked by the employees and they also feel a sense of fear that it will create an incident if they give negative feedback.
This article is an attempt to provide some suggestions which the managers can use to offer constructive feedback effectively.
How to Deliver Negative Feedback Constructively
- While providing negative feedback, you need to get a hold on to your emotions. It is important that you do not criticise the other individual’s actions when you are upset or angry. Allow some time to cool yourself down. Offer constructive feedback as close to the occurrence of the incident as possible. If you feel that things have heated up during the discussion, it is entirely fine to reschedule the meeting for another day.
- Always remember that you should never deliver negative feedback in front of any other team member/team member Go to a conference room or your office when you need to have a feedback discussion.
- While providing feedback to an individual, remind yourself that you need to focus on the observed behaviour, and not on the person.The entire objective of providing constructive feedback is to eradicate behaviours that prevent them from giving their best performance. During the feedback session, if the individual feels that he or she is being attacked personally, it makes them adopt a defensive stance, and the entire opportunity for a productive discussion will be lost.
- Always be specific while offering feedback. Highlight the specific behaviour and explain how it has implications on the business owing to the behaviour.
- Offer your feedback promptly so that it does not lose its significance. If you provide a long list of negative feedback at the time of annual performance review, it is practically of no use since the inputs have been provided too late.
- It is important for you to remain calm while providing negative feedback to an individual. Irrespective of how upset you are, you must not lose control of your emotions. You need to remind yourself that the aim of providing feedback to an individual is to promote the development of the individual. Hence you need to approach the discussion with a positive attitude.
- During your discussion, reaffirm your faith in the opposite individual. Convince them that you still have confidence in him or her as an individual and in his or her abilities; it’s just their performance that you want them to change.
- Encourage the employee to present his or her side. Invite the other employee to engage in the discussion. Give the other Employee an opportunity to respond to your statements and ask questions to clarify his or her doubts.
- When the discussion is drawing to a close, define and mutually agree on an acceptable plan of action.If you think that there are specific things that the employee needs to start doing or needs to stop doing, ensure that you identify them clearly. If there is something that you can do from your end to help him or her such as suggesting or offering an opportunity for additional training for the employee, take that action.
- Set a time to follow-up by setting a date and time to review the individual’s actions and improvement. This is an important part of the feedback process. It sets the tone for accountability and improves the likelihood of performance improvement.
Once you have provided the constructive feedback from your end, agreed upon a resolution and created a follow-up plan, you need to move on with your tasks. Do not hold any ill will towards the employee just because he or she goofed up. Avoid hovering over them out of fear that they may commit another mistake. It is okay to monitor their performance as you do with all your other employees, but avoid being obsessed with it.
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