Difficult Conversations

By Tayo Leigh

 15 Dec 2015     Comments

Difficult Conversation - 10 Tips to Giving Feedback

Providing feedback is an essential part of the role of any manager, but sometimes it can be difficult to provide any which may be taken in the wrong way. Depending on who you are speaking to, any feedback which could be perceived as negative, may not be taken particularly well. There are some ways you can approach a difficult conversation like this, while making sure the feedback is taken on board.

1. Start with the Positives

Instead of going straight into a negative conversation, make sure you start with the positives of the employee’s performance. This will make it easier to give any feedback which may not be taken too well. It will soften the blow a little.

2. One to One

Always ensure you provide feedback on a one to one basis, rather than via emails. It can be easier to have a chat this way and will make it feel more personal and allow for open communication between both of you.

3. Two Way Street

Make sure the conversation is a two way street, where you provide the opportunity for the employee to also give their opinion on the feedback you are giving. Feedback should be about how two people feel and the employee might provide reasons why they believe it not to be right. You need to be willing to be open minded to what they are saying.

4. Offer Guidance

When providing any kind of feedback, you should offer any guidance which may help the employee improve in the future. They are likely to feel valued if you do this and it might even give them more motivation in their job.

5. Take Time to Listen

Feedback should not just be about talking, it should also be a lot about listening. Let the employee discuss any feedback they may have on their role, the company or even you! And be willing and open to taking it on board.

6. Be Professional

When you are offering feedback at work, always make sure it is of a professional nature, never comment on a person’s personality or character, unless it is affecting others around them. You may not like the person you are giving feedback to, but that doesn’t mean you can mention it as part of your feedback.

7. Provide Examples

It is not enough just to say that someone has underperformed in certain areas, you also need to be able to provide examples. For instance, you shouldn’t just say that the employee isn’t meeting deadlines. You should give them dates of when they failed to meet deadlines, as opposed to just saying they haven’t achieved them.

8. Be Honest

It may be an awkward and uncomfortable experience, but always be honest with your feedback, otherwise you could say it as a waste of time. Even if you don’t particularly want to say it, it is a necessity and will help in the long run.

9. Steps to Follow

The feedback may not be exactly what the employee wanted to hear but if you provide some clear steps to help them move forward and progress, this will really help in the long run and make the feedback more useful.

10. Explain Reasons

Offer reasons as to what impact the actions are having on the team/company. The employee may never have realised their actions are affecting others, so this can be really worthwhile and make the feedback easier to digest.

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