When you accept a management position, you’re doing more than simply advancing your career. At its heart, management is about handling people. One of your principle roles is helping mold your employees into effective team players. When everything is going well, this part is easy. After all, everyone responds well to praise and positive feedback. When it’s time to deliver bad feedback, however, your job becomes exponentially harder, with many managers reporting they will lose sleep over the thought of giving bad feedback. How can you ensure your employees accept negative feedback in a positive way?

Keep in touch with your employees.

If you only sit down with your employees when something is wrong, they will come to associate your conversations with negative feelings. Before long, you’ll find they get on the defensive as soon as you start a conversation. In contrast, if you maintain regular communication with your staff, they will feel more at ease.

In addition, maintaining a hands-on management style helps to build trust with your team. It’s difficult to accept negative feedback from a supervisor who you believe is out of touch and doesn’t understand your situation. By keeping close ties to your staff, you make it easier for them to accept your input. Since trust and appreciation from their employers are among the top factors workers value, such communication is a powerful motivator.

Bad feedback should always come with praise.

There is a fine line between counsel and criticism. If you want your employee to take your feedback to heart, they cannot feel like they are under attack. To put them in a more receptive mindset, start every feedback session with commendation. By starting with sincere, positive feedback, you will allow your employees to relax and be more receptive to your constructive criticism.

Finding the balance between positive and negative feedback depends on the situation. For a normal, scheduled employee review, you might dedicate over half of your conversation to positive notes, only hitting heavier issues at the end. For small, everyday concerns, brief commendation or praise may be enough to set a positive tone. Be sure your praise doesn’t come across as overpowering, as your staff will begin to view your compliments with suspicion and wonder when you will get to the real point.

Offer a clear solution and a path forward.

Quite simply, solving problems is your job. If all you can offer to your employee is a complaint, you are not ready for the conversation. Before broaching an uncomfortable subject, you have to consider your plan. What do you want them to change? How will you measure their improvement? What is your timeframe for success? By clearly stating your objectives, you will avoid confusion while demonstrating trust in your employee’s ability to improve.

Listen to their feedback.

Despite the obvious implications of the chain of command, your employees may often have deeper insights than you. Don’t be too quick to assume you have the whole picture. After stating your concerns, it can be helpful to say something like: “That is what I’ve observed. Could you help me understand the situation better?” You may discover the problem is less serious than you had believed. Regardless, your staff will welcome the opportunity to express themselves freely.

Find the best fit for your business!

Offering feedback – both negative and positive – is easier and more productive when you are working with a team you can trust. At Expert Staffing, we are dedicated to crafting innovative staffing strategies for companies like yours. With specialized expertise in healthcare and industrial settings, we are confident we can find the best strategy for your business. To learn more about our comprehensive and cost effective services, contact us today.