How to Deliver Negative Feedback

No one likes to deliver negative feedback.  It can be tempting to procrastinate or to sweep issues under the rug.  Most issues however, will never be resolved unless you address them directly. How can you motivate yourself to deliver unpleasant feedback?  Start by recognizing that most people want corrective feedback.  A recent poll suggested that employees who receive little or no feedback are even more disengaged than employees who receive negative feedback.  Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Give feedback that is specific and behavioral rather than general or judgmental.  Focus on relevant and recent observations.
  • Emphasize alternatives for the employee, helping the employee to think ahead and sort choices for behavioral action.
  • Avoid giving too much feedback at one time so that the employee is not overwhelmed-no more than a couple of things at once. One subject at a time is best.
  • Give recognition when a degree of success is achieved even when there is still room for improvement.
  • Provide encouragement and support for moving forward with new ideas and plans.


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