By Charlotte Murray.

Have you ever found it difficult to deliver negative feedback to an employee?

As a manager, having the ability to effectively handle difficult conversations in the workplace is a valuable tool for both the employee and the business. Effective feedback can make employees more motivated and provide clarity around expectations and what they’re required to do to improve.

Not all messages are delivered effectively, and at its worst, a poorly delivered message can be damaging, demoralising and distressing.

Do not ignore
Let go of the notion that criticism has to be difficult, instead see it for the positive outcomes it can lead to. Tough conversations typically feel uncomfortable because of poor delivery, rather than because of the issue being discussed. Acknowledge feedback as a necessary step to help employees improve skills and outcomes, which will better serve the individual and the organisation.

Don’t let small a problem become a big one by not addressing it out of fear of the conversation resulting in conflict. Approaching problems with good intentions and a clear message in its infancy can save you time in the long run. If you give someone the opportunity to adjust their behaviour, you may even be met with appreciation – no one likes to be left in the dark.

Tips when providing feedback
1. Provide examples of a specific event and avoid using sweeping statements i.e. “I’ve noticed your performance decline”
2. Stick to your own fact-based observations
3. Clearly define what you need to happen moving forwards

You will find employees respect and want honesty. It’s important to explain the impact of an employee’s actions and set the expectation of what you want to see instead.

The SBI Model helps by delineating the important components of feedback – Situation, Behaviour and Impact.
• Situation refers to where and when the behaviour you observed took place
• Behaviour means sticking to observable actions without bringing your own interpretations or assumptions to the discussion
• and Impact is about explaining the effect it had.

Timing is of the essence – delivering feedback should occur within hours or days of the undesired behaviour. Avoid thinking feedback is an annual or quarterly process only.

Have you considered creating a feedback culture?
People are more at ease with giving and receiving feedback when it happens regularly. It should be context specific, include a good dose of what’s being done well and provide clear instruction about what needs to be different.

Delivering feedback is a skill that needs to be honed and practiced. Ensuring managers are trained in how to deliver effective feedback is a necessary step and is something we can help you with here at Integrated Human Resourcing.

Encouraging peer-to-peer communication and extending that to the leadership team can be as simple as asking your direct reports to tell you something you have done well, and something you could have done better. The more open you are and the more genuine you are, the more trust you will build. If you have trust and rapport, people will respect what you have to say.

Be sure to follow up
Let’s face it, not all feedback will be received well, no matter how good your delivery.

If you sense someone is having trouble processing your feedback, check in and ask them how they feel about the feedback process. Don’t assume you know why someone is struggling with it – mindreading is a flawed ability!

Everyone processes information differently, so asking staff what they need to help them change their behaviour will aid in reaching a desired outcome sooner. Some people may be more time, mentoring, further training, or a template to follow.

Providing negative feedback can be challenging, but it is also an essential part of being an effective leader. Always try to be understanding of the person you’re providing feedback to.

Think about how you can leverage some of these frameworks within your team and if you need any assistance the team at Integrated Human Resourcing are here and ready to help you.


Integrated Human Resourcing is an outsourced HR firm based on the Gold Coast, Australia. Contact us here or call 5613 1846 / email: info@humanresourcing.com.au