How to Give Employees Tough Criticism

Superior Resources Group

Feedback is vital to the success of any organization and giving feedback to employees when its positive is easy to do. The difficult part of giving feedback is when it includes tough criticism.

When giving any type of worker feedback, positive or negative, you want include three essential things: what the worker did, the results of those actions, how it impacted the team and the next steps moving forward.

When these three essential components of effective feedback are included, there is a much greater chance of the feedback having an impact on the worker, which is continuing good behavior or changing bad behavior.

That being said, every situation is different and there is no standard way to give constructive criticism. Consider the following specific examples of when it’s necessary to give an employee tough criticism.

When a deadline is missed

When an employee misses an important deadline, it can be upsetting, but there’s not much you can do about it in the moment. Instead, you should be calmly figuring out a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Ask the employee why he or she missed a deadline and collaborate with them on ways to prevent a repeat occurrence.

When a mistake is made

We all make mistakes and employees should feel bad when they screw up. Instead of laying into them, try to be sympathetic and ask why the mistake was made. If your worker was properly trained, the error was simply an oversight. Be sure to provide them with the chance for more training without making them feel bad about it. An environment where workers feel safe to make the occasional error leads to more innovation and key solutions through risk taking.

When an argument breaks out

Tension between colleagues is a normal thing that can occur on any team, and any leader occasionally has to do some conflict resolution. If a disagreement escalates and one of your staff members crosses the line with a co-worker, you want to tackle it immediately and get to the bottom of the situation.

When performance has fallen off

A worker’s performance might decline for any number of reasons, and a good policy is to not make assumptions. You need to sit down with your employee and find out what’s happening.

Getting to the root cause is the most important thing here and it should dictate your approach. If you think lending a sympathetic ear will help, do that. If you think sternly warning the employee will get to the bottom of the situation, then go that route.

When an employee is gossiping

Office gossip is a unique situation for managers because it can feel innocuous or it can just be a release valve for stressed out employees. However, gossip can quickly take an ugly turn and become a form of bullying.

If you’re conscious of a worker that is gossiping, to speak with them privately about how gossip impacts the team. Be sure to focus on the act of gossiping and not the person doing the gossiping.

At Superior, we help our company leaders address all kinds of human resources issues. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your organization.



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