Giving Negative Feedback

One of the best things that managers get to do is to give their staff positive feedback.  Catching an employee doing “good” is very exciting for a manager as they get to praise the staff member and watch the wonderful look of delight on their face.

Positive feedback is easy and it makes everyone involved feel good.  It inspires repeat behavior in employees and motivation to do even better.

Negative feedback, on the other hand, is something that most managers try to avoid.  Why?  The conversation is uncomfortable and could become confrontational.

Managers need to know how to give feedback to employees when things are not going right in a way that is truthful and helpful.

Karen May, vice president for people development at Google, was interviewed by The New York Times, and a link to the article in full is below.   In this interview she makes a statement referring to an earlier point in her career when she learned to realize that, “one of the most valuable things I could do for somebody is tell them exactly what nobody else had told them before.”

Even though the information that is given to the employee is painful at first, the manager can coach the employee through the pain and see what positive affect this information can have on their employment.

An important factor to remember as a manager is to make sure that you have the right attitude when approaching your staff member with negative feedback.

Your goal must be one of wanting a good outcome.  One where the employee feels good about what they learned even thought it was difficult. They also need to understand that they have been given valuable information and now can take positive steps in their job.

The article below is worth reading as Karen May gives out some valuable advice for tackling this difficult and sensitive topic.

Conquering Your Fears Of Giving Feedback

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