How to Deliver Negative Feedback

How to Deliver Negative Feedback

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As tough as it may be to deliver negative feedback to employees, failing to do so could damage the relationship in the long run. Here are some tips to help you deliver negative feedback effectively:

Establish a feedback relationship

Develop a feedback relationship as early in the relationship as possible. Have an initial ‘talking about talking’ conversation to agree on the base from which to work. Managers often struggle to deliver negative messages to employees because they weren’t prepared to receive the negative feedback. If an employee expects to receive feedback in a certain way, format an agreed date; both a manager and an employee can physically and mentally prepare for the tough conversation. Build the following guidelines into conversations.

  • Context: outline the reason why you are having the conversation
  • Conversation: describe what the conversation will look like and what points will be discussed
  • Consent: come to an agreement and give/receive permission

Use the BOFF model

Always refer to facts during your conversation with employees. In order to address all of the points you are planning to discuss with your employee, try to use the BOFF model:

  • Behaviour: Start with describing the instance or pattern of behaviour that you have observed (always stick to facts)
  • Outcome: Explain the result of such behaviour on others
  • Feelings: Express your feelings (positive or negative) about the issue
  • Future: The last step is to ask your employee to change their behaviour.

Prepare for the conversation

By planning tough conversations, you can have more control over your own contribution towards the discussion. Think through the list of below questions so that you can sort your thoughts and be able to deliver clear, effective feedback and achieve a positive outcome.

  1. What is your intention in giving this feedback? What are you trying to achieve?
  2. How do you feel about giving your employee this feedback?
  3. Is it more appropriate to give feedback directly or to ask the other person for their input?
  4. Has the need to give feedback arisen from a specific incident or a serious of incidents?
  5. What is the behavior that you want your employee to change? Describe that behavior.
  6. What is the outcome (or potential outcome) of this behavior?
  7. In future, what do you want the person to do or stop doing?

Remember, delivering this type of feedback can be viewed as a constructive step in the employee’s development. It’s all about the delivery and how you handle the situation. Agree on a resolution and follow-up plan and move on with the job.