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Photo of management training group - Scott DemingHaving a frank conversation with employees about performance can be uncomfortable for many managers, but you owe it to people on your team to share constructive feedback. Given correctly, both negative and positive messages can have a positive impact on employee performance and a company in general. Instead of fearing discomfort or a negative reaction, learn how to evaluate performance honestly.

Check Yourself First

Before having a conversation, especially one that involves criticism, take stock of your own attitude and feelings. This can be especially important if you’re dealing with an underperforming employee or one who has made an error that needs to be addressed. If you’re feeling frustrated or angry, work through these feelings first before you begin a conversation. Be ready to focus on facts without including feelings in the conversation. Choose words carefully to avoid blame and shame. Instead, be tactful and candid to deliver a straightforward message.

Create a Tone of Problem Solving

When you approach feedback with an open attitude that demonstrates problem solving, even criticism is often received more positively. Having a two-way conversation that invites sharing of information often gives you insight about a situation that you may not have known. Even your word choices can set a positive tone. Instead of phrases such as, “You always…” and “You shouldn’t…” implement inclusive language that communicates encouragement. Try saying, “What if we…” or “What do you think about…” After exploring a situation, turn the focus to a positive solution that benefits everyone. Fixing a flawed process or providing additional training are two examples of positive ways to address a problem and move forward positively.

Timeliness is Important

When something happens that requires constructive feedback, don’t wait to share it. Do take the time to check your own emotions, but once you’re calm and ready to talk, find a private place and time to chat. Exploring a situation when it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds is productive, and it also allows you to put the issue to rest once you discuss it.

Don’t Forget the Positive

While resolving negative situations and feedback is part of the managerial job, there are many times when your job also involves passing along kudos and compliments. Don’t pass up the opportunity to tell your employees when they have done a good job or gone the extra mile. Positive feedback is extremely effective for motivation and morale.

When you approach any situation constructively, employees will be more likely to hear your message and respond positively.

Scott Deming is an experienced businessman, motivational speaker, and management consultant. To improve the connectivity between your organizations, contact Scott Deming today.