7 Questions to Ease the Pain of Giving Negative Feedback

One negative feedback session – done well – has more positive impact than a hundred pats on the back.

tolerance of negative patterns is about leaders not employees

7 questions to ease the pain of giving negative feedback:

#1. Do you need a nap? (Use this question as an opportunity to explore your issues.)

  1. Are you rested?
  2. Seek input from a mentor or coach.
  3. How much of your feedback is really about making life easier for you?

#2. How old is the issue?

  1. If you waited six weeks to give negative feedback, you need feedback on giving timely feedback.
  2. You’re team member hasn’t repeated the behavior for six weeks. Should you let it go?
  3. Your team member hasn’t repeated the behavior recently, but they will. The tolerance of negative patterns is about leaders, not employees. If it’s a pattern, deal with your issues first.

#3. How might negative feedback enable them to better reach the goals and commitments they have for themselves?

The issue may be conflicting commitments, not negative behaviors.

Don’t impose expectations that exceed commitments.

The indication that your expectations collide with their commitments is you feel like you’re pushing ropes. Committed people may need direction, encouragement, challenge, development, mentoring, or coaching, but they don’t need to be pushed.

#4. Do your aspirations for them, exceed their own aspirations?

Explore aspirations before behaviors.

#5. How forward-facing is the language you plan to use? Develop a forward-facing approach with a trusted colleague or coach.

#6. How often are you giving positive affirmations that stand on their own?

If you’re such a strong leader, why is it difficult for you to affirm positives and easy to point out negatives. Strong leaders do tough things. For some, the tough thing is affirming positive behaviors.

The required ratio of positive affirmations to negative feedback is about four positives to one negative.

#7. How might their strengths connect to the behaviors you expect?

How might leaders effectively prepare to give negative feedback?

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