It’s a manager’s job to occasionally make an employee aware of his faults or failures. But if you’re not careful, it can do more harm than good.
People generally respond more strongly to criticism than praise, so before you tell someone what she did wrong, take these precautions:
• Weigh the tradeoffs.
You’re providing helpful information, but you also run the risk of putting your employee in a bad mood. If a mistake is so inconsequential that the corrective value is low, it might make sense for you to keep the feedback to yourself.
• Keep your tone collaborative.
Make it clear that your employee still has your support and respect.
• Help her get in the right mindset.
Start by saying, “Let me provide you with some feedback.” Preparing the employee emotionally for what you’re about to say may help her not get defensive.
Adapted from “The Delicate Art of Giving Feedback” by Robert C. Pozen.