Negative Feedback: How to Deal With It?

January 10th, 2021

Reading time about 13 min

While evaluating a project, it is always best to deliver negative feedback in person. However, a work-from-home set-up may often compel the authorities and the boss to send feedback in writing.

If negative feedback is offered and without adequately written, it may create some miscommunication. A person can provide negative feedback through a formal letter following all the email etiquettes.

However, while providing a critical response in written form, people need to keep in mind the fact that the tone must be empathetic and should have a delicate approach. 

What Is Negative Feedback?

Negative feedback is a way to point out the fault of someone. If they are doing poorly and the authority needs to tell them to change their work style or approach.

negative feedback

They may use negative feedback if they find any behavior or habit of the employee inappropriate. The manager can generate negative feedback even though the employee’s actions are unintentional.

Negative feedback is essential if the management is trying to improve an employee’s performance or work ethics. A Gallup poll in 2009 revealed that the employees who receive a negative comment are more likely to respond and got 20 times more engagement than the ones who receive no feedback at all.

Negative Feedback Examples: Imaginary Scenario

A study was conducted on 2700 leaders, which revealed that most of them feel uncomfortable giving corrective feedback. Among 43% of the leaders said they identified giving corrective feedback as a stressful and challenging experience.

The management needs to make sure that the feedback does not sound like blame. Suppose they want to point out something specific. In that case, it is always better to identify the situation and then describe any particular occurrence’s behavior.

They don’t want to get repeated. Here is a example, an imaginary scenario that revealed the employee’s drawbacks concerning the sales presentation. In that case, the feedback would be, “Last day, your presentation-style was good, but there are a few things I would like to point out. There were two slides you were uncertain about, and the sales calculations were incorrect.”

Writing Feedback:

Writing is communication is a vulnerable act. Hence, while writing feedback, the writer needs to make sure that they acknowledge their strengths simultaneously. An essential writing fundamental is not to focus only on raw negative comments and insensitive tone. It can hurt the employee, which can be harmful to their growth.

Though it is a bad idea to insert feedback in-between far-fetched praises, the management can include the positive thing related to the subject they give feedback to them.

For example, suppose they are giving feedback about a report. In that case, they can include positive qualities of the report along with the negative feedback.

negative feedback, Feedback

On behalf of the management, the writer should keep in mind that giving negative feedback is not nitpicking.

All they need to do is critique the work of the employee. Negative feedback is neither a review nor a space to scold the employee for general actions without being specific.

The management needs to keep this in mind to share their idea about the employee’s performance and provide them suggestions to do better in negative feedback. It is best to make it constructive, as well-written feedback in a suggestive tone can improve.

The management may not criticize the employee and blame them for making the feedback fruitful. Instead, it is better to list the corrections that need to be done and positively list them with suggestions.

They need to point out the situations and then be direct about it and describe their impact. If the employee is part of a team, the reader can make personal comments on how they or the team has got affected by their mistakes.

Though writing styles may vary from person to person and organization to organization, copying the internet’s feedback is a big no. The writer can check for plagiarism if they are not sure about the content. Plagiarised feedback does not affect and also takes away the seriousness of the issue. Hence, the person providing the feedback should use a sentence checker or a plagiarism checker before forwarding the feedback to the employee.

What Is Constructive Feedback?

Constructive feedback is crucial as it is like a highlight of an employee’s areas to improve. It is a way to discuss the solutions that can improve the employee’s workplace behaviour and performance. The critical focus of constructive feedback is to deal with the problem itself with an empathetic tone, instead of blaming.

negative feedback, Professional sharing feedback

The key feature of constructive feedback is that it deals with specific information and is mainly based on observation. When the management aims to give constructive feedback, they need to make sure that it is solution-focused.

Constructive Feedback Example:

In a report produced by Harvard Business Review in 2014, they mentioned that 57% stated that they preferred constructive feedback overpraise among the participants.

Additionally, most of the employees were interested in knowing specific areas where they can improve. Constructive feedback helps to enhance the performance of the individual as well as that of the organization.

The tone should not be harsh if delivered in written format. A direct and sincere approach to the particular problem the management is trying to talk about is the best way of giving feedback. At the same time, it is always better to appreciate the employee through positive feedback if they are doing well.

A constructive feedback example can be: “The report you produced last month was good as it had all the details we required. I would like to point out that it had some typographical errors. It would be great if you can check the report using online tools or manually before submitting it.”

Difference Between Positive and Negative Feedback:

Positive feedback points out the employee’s qualities. In contrast, negative feedback comes with suggestions to improve their specific weaknesses seen in the workplace—both feedback help improve a person’s skills.

Sometimes, experts mention that the leader or management should give positive feedback more often than negative feedback. Though sandwiching both was popular previously, the leaders are more prone to five frequent feedback, which is useful for the employees to increase their performance.

If the feedback is given verbally, it is better to provide positive feedback in private and negative feedback in private. Suppose the management is aiming to improve the performance of the employees.

In that case, they need to give both positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback increases a person’s confidence, and negative feedback opens a new window for them to improve their weak areas.

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