A major challenge of leadership is having to give negative feedback.
For some, giving negative feedback is actually more uncomfortable than receiving bad feedback. People worry about hurting someone's feelings, making a person angry, or lowering someone's confidence. We're here to tell you that when done right, negative feedback does just the opposite; it yields positivity and great results.
If you are in a leadership role and are struggling to convey feedback to your team, you are not alone! Use this resource to beginner's guide to giving feedback, and be the great leader you want to be.
First, Toss Your Head Trash
Head trash is that little voice in your head that causes doubt, worry, fear, discouragement, and so on. In sales, it can have a negative impact on your performance, therefore affecting your team's success.
However, you are not your head trash.
When working to get rid of head trash, don't ignore or try to quiet it. Instead, listen to it, note it, and move on. If you want to be extra kind to yourself, you can even respond with something like, “Thank you for your concern.” Anything to move past the distracting moment.
If giving negative feedback is something that causes you head trash, remember that feedback is necessary for anyone to improve. Were you able to get where you are with absolutely no negative feedback? Of course not!
Everybody has head trash. Your experience is normal, but you can't let it stop you from doing great work. Check out our eBook for more on how to quiet those nagging thoughts in sales.
Employees Actually Want Feedback
Every profession requires in feedback.
In sales, it is imperative that salespeople have annual reviews or check-ins with their managers to measure and discuss their performance. This is not only a time for the salesperson to gain insight, but also an opportunity for the sales manager to strengthen the team and prove themselves as a strong leader.
Studies show that some managers are so fearful of giving negative feedback that they end up sugarcoating or inflating what they have to say without realizing it. In other words, they end up being dishonest. Don't be that manager!
As a leader, establishing trust and open communication within your team is crucial. If you are unable to honestly convey to your team how to do better, how will they know to trust you? They are looking to you as a guide to success.
Negative reviews push your team to do better. It's just part of the job.
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Negative Feedback Should Always Be Constructive
Research shows that negative feedback works, and is appreciated by employees.
How you communicate is what determines whether or not a person gets upset. As long as you approach the situation with sensitivity to your individual employees and with their success in mind, the conversation will be productive and effective.
Leadership consultancy Zenger Folkman collected data on feedback assessments and reported that “people want corrective feedback … even more than praise, if it’s provided in a constructive manner.”
This is where strong leadership comes in. Clarifying expectations and showing employees what they could do to improve keeps everyone on the same page and sets the stage for better performance.
Tips to Giving Corrective Feedback (or Constructive Criticism)
- Be honest. Never say more than you mean or you might regret it.
- Don't mince words. Prepare for what you want to say so you don't confuse your team or take up too much of their time.
- Hear what they have to say. This sets a standard of open communication, and ultimately is helpful for you too.
- Said criticism must be in order to help the person improve. Place constructive feedback within a context of support and development, rather than blame and disappointment. Your feedback must have a positive purpose. Nobody wants to be criticized or reviewed poorly without a roadmap to improvement.
Remember, you can't control how somebody feels, but you can control how you express yourself.
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Lastly, Know Your Employees
Building a relationship with your employees takes time.
Good managers will be patient and observant to the needs and personalities of their direct reports, but a great manager will go the extra mile to develop confidence in their less self-assured employees.
Now toss that head trash, and schedule some performance reviews. You've got this!
What's your experience been with negative feedback? Do you have any tips to share? Comment below! We'd love to hear from you.