It’s a Sunday afternoon and you have finally found some time to read a book. You check your phone for pending messages and find one from your manager, asking you to lead the business meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon. This short notice throws you off and ruins your Sunday plans.

Your manager will never understand your discomfort unless you communicate it. Just like you receive feedback, you need to be able to give feedback. However, the way you provide feedback is extremely important. If you want to provide effective feedback, you need to master the process of delivery. Let’s look at the importance of negative feedback and how you can deliver it delicately.


Definition Of Negative Feedback

Feedback loops are essential in any workplace. Not only do they help you identify areas of personal development, but are also instrumental in driving business goals with greater efficiency. When you are more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you are motivated to pursue larger objectives and shoulder more responsibilities. Healthy feedback is the foundation of productivity and professional success.

Whether you’re a junior employee or a senior executive, you will interact and work with people from various walks of life. Not everyone will have similar learning styles and they will fulfill responsibilities in their unique ways. Some individuals may take more time to meet their objectives than expected and you need to keep an open mind. You can’t provide negative feedback and expect someone to overcome their setbacks immediately. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you stop providing negative feedback. You must maintain a balance between positive and negative feedback so that the other person can identify their shortcomings and take active steps towards overcoming them. Therefore, negative feedback is the process of offering someone a perspective on their actions or behaviors to help them improve.

Here are a few examples of negative feedback in the workplace:

  • “You interrupted your teammate during yesterday’s presentation and I lost my train of thought. Don’t you think you could’ve waited for your teammate to finish speaking first?”

  • “You have been arriving late to work throughout the week. This sort of behavior isn’t acceptable at all.”

As you see, negative feedback has the potential to discourage someone and make them overthink everything—hampering their productivity and performance. You need to be mindful and careful about your choice of words. Here are some constructive examples of negative performance feedback that’ll teach you how to communicate sensitively and objectively:

Instead Of…

“You haven’t fulfilled any of your major targets this financial year and the performance review is around the corner. You need to step up your game and turn this situation around!”

Try Saying…

“I’ve noticed that you haven’t been able to meet your targets this financial year. I understand it hasn’t been easy but is there something that has been affecting your productivity? I just want to reassure you that your team has your back and you can tell us about your hiccups anytime.”


How To Give Negative Feedback In The Workplace

Giving negative feedback is never going to be easy. But here are a few practical tips that’ll teach you how to give negative feedback constructively:

  1. Separate Your Emotions

We are often unable to separate our emotions from facts. If you want your feedback to be effective, you need to state the facts as objectively as possible. Try not to get angry or agitated and use a time-out if needed. Resume the feedback session with a clear head.

  1. Focus On The Performance

Remember that the purpose of giving feedback is to highlight an individual’s performance and behavior in the organization. Make sure that your suggestions and observations don’t come off as personal attacks. For example, you can’t complain about someone’s style of work. Instead, focus on their performance.

  1. Reaffirm Your Confidence

A few words of encouragement can go a long way. If you see someone struggling to meet the demands of their job, remind them that they have enough time for improvement. Reinforce your confidence in that person—they’ll feel motivated.

  1. Cocreate A Plan

If you want to help someone take proactive steps towards self-improvement, you need to help them focus on their priorities. You can do this by creating a mutually acceptable action plan. You can put down targets and ask them what they need to pursue excellence—e.g., training programs.

  1. Stop And Listen

Feedback isn’t a one-way street; you ought to listen to what the other person has to say. Taking time to understand the individual’s point of view will establish empathy and help you connect better. You can advise or guide them accordingly.

The process of giving and receiving feedback is an art. Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course will help you master this tricky yet effective skill. You will understand how individuals function and learn about team formation and growth. You will manage and navigate conflicts with ease and encourage collaboration for greater workplace success. Let your words be the source of motivation! 

Explore topics such as Interpersonal Relationships, Ways to Give Constructive Feedback, The Power of Positive Feedback & The Importance of Employee Development from Harappa Diaries to ensure smooth functioning of your team.

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