Negative feedback is only negative if it is delivered in a negative context.
I prefer to consider giving feedback only for the following two reasons:
1. to advise the individual about current strengths (Positive feedback) or,
2. To advise the individual about future strengths (negative feedback)
a. Any feedback session is only the tip of the iceberg. As a manager/leader about to provide an individual with feedback, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that you have absolute command over the background, the individual’s performance, specific achievements, notable peer comments or feedback (negative and positive) and specifics about the individual’s contributions to the team and business goals.
b. Be prepared to answer the individual’s questions and clarifications with honesty and openness – remember that he/she trusts your inputs and feedback and looks up to receiving only the most accurate and honest direction from his manager/leader
c. When pointing out positives or negative – remember to stay focused, transparent and totally factual – do use real life examples and scenarios to emphasize your point where such information is available to you (you should have determined this in step a. above)
d. Ensure that you are prepared to close the feedback session with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) that the individual is agreeable to and fully commits to achieve these goals. Also be prepared to discuss interim reviews to check for progress with the individual – feedback is of no consequence if delivered too late in the performance appraisal cycle.
Stick with the above and you should be on the right track before too long…