Wise Ways to give negative feedback positively

Wise Ways to give negative feedback positively

Wise Ways to give negative feedback positivelyby Jacquie Wise

No one likes to give negative feedback.

Most of us find it very difficult, but the worst thing you can do is avoid dealing with the issue. It doesn’t have to be unpleasant if you follow certain guidelines.

There are three outcomes you’re aiming at:

1 training your staff member
2 revealing improvements that need to be made to your processes
3 encouraging mutual respect.

Golden rules:

Praise in public: criticise in private. If you criticise someone in front of others, you will embarrass them, lose the respect of everyone, and not solve anything.

Be prompt: give feedback (both positive or negative) as soon as possible after the event. If you’re angry, give yourself time to calm down. It is never constructive or dignified to explode all over someone. You will lose credibility and respect if you do.

Focus on the behaviour, not on the person: Reaffirm that you believe in their abilities. Focus on the particular behaviour that needs to change.

Ask first, tell second: After you’ve told the person what specific, recent actions are inappropriate, and why, ask them if they have any reasons they acted in this way. It may not be their fault.

Listen to what they have to say first: What seems to be an excuse may be a valid reason that needs a separate resolution from you.

Give specific examples: Make sure your feedback is clear, not vague. Telling someone they are careless is not telling them specifically what they need to correct and why. Do your homework and be prepared to back up your statements with evidence.

Be specific with the changes you want them to make and the improvements you expect: Put procedures in writing. Talk them through SMART goal setting (specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and time-bounded).

Agree on the solution: The only way to ensure the behaviour will change is to agree on what needs to be done differently. If the person doesn’t agree that the solution is achievable, they will resist.

Get over it: You’ve discussed it; the person has understood it and agreed on the solution. Move on.

Is it time for you to provide negative feedback at work or at home? Would you like some guidance? If so, contact me directly to arrange a convenient appointment time.


I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here.

You can give me your feedback, ask a question by email or post a comment below.

If you or someone you know would like a personal consultation, please call +61 3 9690 8159.

Take charge of your life with Jacquie Wise.

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© Jacquie Wise – Integrative Coach, Counsellor, Speaker, Trainer and Author, specialising in life, love, work and soul (www.wiseways.com.au)

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