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Could Negative Feedback Be a Motivator?

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Could Negative Feedback Be a Motivator?

Are you a manager who needs to provide a negative feedback to your employee, but apprehensive of its impact on his performance?

Well, you could convert negative feedback into a motivator, which results in better performance of the worker. The key to a “good” negative feedback is the WAY IN WHICH SHORTCOMINGS ARE EXPLAINED to the employee. Managers, by paying attention to 5 aspects of presenting feedback, could transform the mistakes of the workforce into stepping stones of organizational success. They are:

Honest appraisal of the employee’s performance

The manager needs to candidly talk to the employee about the shortcomings in his work. This helps the worker understand his “mistakes” and improve his performance.

However, it is necessary to ensure that the feedback is provided in a manner that does not erode the self-confidence of the employee. Managers could motivate the worker by reminding him of the organizational objectives and effectively explaining the importance of his performance in realizing them.

Avoid focus on the individual

The feedback needs to be delivered in a manner that it is not construed by the worker as an “attack” on him by the manager.

By avoiding personal references in the feedback and focusing on the work of the employee rather than the employee himself, managers could “embed the element of objectivity” in their feedback. This goes a long way in convincing the worker that the manager is fair-minded and is only trying to improve his performance.

Fixing parameters for feedback

A good manager knows how to judge the work of his subordinates. By evaluating the performance of an employee on the basis of fixed parameters and making him aware of them, the usual repercussions of a negative feedback could be avoided.

It helps the employees understand that their work is being assessed fairly and they try to improve their performance by meeting these parameters. It also lends consistency to the feedback which increases the “credibility” of the work-appraisal.

Present the feedback using appropriate words

We humans are highly sentimental. Our emotions run high when we are provoked. A manager adept in providing feedback avoids language that could fray the tempers of the worker.

A tactful manager ensures that the employee is not hurt emotionally while presenting feedback. He avoids abusive language and gently points out the shortcomings of the worker. He offers help to resolve any work-related problems that hamper the employee’s productivity. This often creates positive picture of the manager and results in the feedback being accepted in the right spirit.

Help the workers to find a solution

A constructive feedback not only makes the worker aware of the shortcomings in his work but also helps him find solutions to overcome them.

Managers need to understand the causes of the employee’s poor performance. This could be done by talking frankly to the employees and identifying the problems. Once the issues are identified, the manager could devise ways of addressing them in consultation with the employees. Participation of the workers in performance improvement initiatives often contributes to their successful implementation.

eLearning could be used to effectively train the managers in the art of giving feedback. Case studies and scenarios related to delivery of feedback could be effectively presented through online courses which help them handle “difficult” situations involving negative feedback better.

Thus, proper presentation of negative feedback helps identify the shortcomings and mistakes of the worker and find ways to perform better. How do you present negative feedback? Do share your experiences with us.

View Presentation on Positive Reinforcement in the Workplace!

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