As the owner or manager of a business, you will have to deliver critical feedback to employees. No one enjoys delivering criticism, but it is a necessary part of the job. There are ways to improve your ability to handle these situations:
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Managers often make the mistake of complicating things when delivering tough feedback. Perhaps because they are trying to soften the blow or because they themselves feel bad, managers have a tendency to draw out the process of giving criticism to an employee. Instead, try leading a straightforward discussion with the employee. Deliver your feedback clearly and concisely and allow them to process the information.
Discuss Behaviors, Not People
The entire reason behind delivering criticism to employees is to improve their performance, not shame them. When you make your employees feel guilty or shameful about their actions, they will likely become one of two things: defensive or disengaged. Instead of talking about the person themselves, discuss their behaviors. Make it clear that you see these as separate from the person, and something that they can improve.
Offer Ideas for Improvement
When giving tough feedback or criticism to an employee, it imperative that the manager be prepared with concrete examples of how the employee could have handled past problems better, as well as solutions for how the employee can deal with similar situations in the future. If you give an employee critical feedback but don’t let them know how they can improve, the entire exercise is a waste. While the employee may not seem excited to hear about new solutions, in the end, they will be grateful for your guidance.
Do you have to give critical feedback to an employee and are dreading it? Don’t! People learn and improve when they are told about their areas of weakness. In order to do it tactfully, don’t overcomplicate the situation. Get straight to the point. Make sure you keep your criticism based on their behaviors and not them as a person. Lastly, always offer ideas for improvement. Giving an employee tough feedback without providing them with ways to improve is not helping you, them, or the company.