You know the type of employee who requires critical feedback.
He or she may have bungled a transaction. Or, maybe they missed an opportunity to upsell. Then again, perhaps they had trouble operating the point-of-sale terminal. On the other hand, maybe they spoke somewhat rudely to a customer.
But, how should you approach it? Giving criticism is never pleasant but it’s an effective tool for management. With that in mind, here are some tips for how to provide critical feedback to an employee:
Soften the emotional blow
Some research has suggested that employees who consider themselves to be on the receiving end of workplace incivility will intentionally decrease their productivity. To prevent employees from decreasing productivity, make sure you deliver your criticism in a way that decreases the emotional aspects and keeps the focus on improving the employee’s performance going forward.
Deliver the criticism in private
There are not many things more humiliating than being criticized in front of one’s peers. It’s not necessary to be completely alone in a room with the employee but don’t deliver the criticism at a group meeting. If it’s not a huge issue to discuss, you can probably stop the employee in a hallway and speak with them. In fact, that approach may help soften the blow because it’s just something you are mentioning in the hallway.
Start by with something positive
It’s a good idea to begin the conversation with some positive things you’ve noticed about the employee. Acknowledge their contributions and their commitment. Then, you can pivot to the negative by noting that there are areas where he or she can improve. Again, keep the focus on improving behavior going forward. This will hopefully keep the employee in a rational, calm mindset rather than a defensive, emotional one.
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