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Part of being an effective leader and a good manager is honing your ability to give negative feedback in a productive way. It can be challenging to give constructive criticism in a manner that helps an employee learn and grow, rather than becoming defensive or hurt. Use these tips to communicate your message clearly and kindly.

1. Include positive and negative feedback.

If you have noticed positive aspects of the employee’s job performance, say so. Show genuine appreciation for actions that have benefited the team or the organization. Tell him you appreciate the way he took the initiative to research new sales leads. Praise her on a job well done at the last client meeting. Lead with something positive if you can and then talk about the issue that needs improving.

2. Be sincere and direct.

Don’t shy away from the issue at hand but address it honestly and clearly, focusing on information, facts and concrete examples. Be careful when you choose your words, making sure to phrase your constructive criticism in a way that does not seem like a personal judgment or attack. Start the conversation with a sentence such as, “I have noticed that in the last few weeks, your Friday reports have been coming in late and I wanted to check in with you…”

3. Follow up.

Feedback should be an ongoing process, not a one-time occurrence. Follow up with your employee after giving constructive criticism, offering support where needed and checking in on progress. Make feedback a part of your relationship with all of your employees so it doesn’t feel like a punishment. Stay aware of ongoing issues and keep the lines of communication open.  Communicating to manage performance is critical to a manager’s role.

How do you manage giving constructive criticism with your employees? Share your tips in the comments section.

Learn more about EDSI’s Assertive Communications course.

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