How To Give Negative Feedback That Inspires Change
Updated: Jun 13, 2020
Negative feedback gets a bad rap - as does its unsuccessful rebranding, "constructive feedback". Giving and receiving it is uncomfortable, and too often we avoid it hoping that the problem just goes away (it seldom does). When we give it, we might do it badly and ruin relationships.
Just like proper dental hygiene, negative feedback is necessary. Here’s how to make it painless and beneficial to all parties.
Why It's Needed
When you do NOT give it, you deny everyone who works with you the opportunity to fix a problem. You are also denying the recipient the opportunity to learn, to become a more valued professional and a celebrated member of the team. When you don’t deliver negative feedback, you let everybody down.
How To Give It
Give it immediately after a “quality problem” arises, else you’re signalling that it’s ok
Prepare to give specific examples
Make it safe: do NOT criticise the individual, don’t focus on the fault but on the consequences of their actions and state that your goal is to make things better for them and for the business - you’re on the same team
Don’t mandate a solution, coach instead: be open and listen to their point of view - don’t let them bend the truth, but craft the solution together