Encouraging employees to worry less about their weaknesses and instead focus on their strengths, is never really a good idea. Feedback – both positive and negative – is essential to help employees enhance their best qualities and address their worst.

As a manager, it is important to encourage people by delivering negative feedback in ways that minimise the threat response. Read our quick do’s and dont’s to debunk effective feedback.

The DONT’S of giving feedback

  • Harsh feedback doesn’t allow people to thrive and excel. Deliver criticism with respect and care.
  • Frequent negative comments can spark defensive and angry reactions that dampens motivation. Book in a time with your team member for a feedback session or go for a cup of coffee outside.
  • Avoid distortion and be honest. Everyone understands that feedback is never 100% objective. People usually value honesty over niceness.

The DO’s of giving feedback

  • Positive feedback guarantees learning. It’s important to pay attention and provide input on what is working to support development.
  • Foster learning by asking questions that stimulate reflection. Coach your team into exploration and experimentation rather than telling them the solution.
  • Speak about strengths that you have noticed and ask if they would like to have increased responsibilities in that domain. May be consider rewarding with making them a mentor for certain tasks.
  • Be specific while addressing weaknesses in a clear and professional way. Don’t be judgemental and make generalised comments. Focus on giving exact scenarios that you have witnessed first hand.

It is important to recognise and leverage the strengths of your team. At the same time, remember ignoring weaknesses limits employee development and organisational effectiveness.

Starting down the path of effective and clear feedback will see your team improve and grow. Now you can look forward to a coffee catchup.

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