You’re part of an eclectic team at work. Amazing things can happen when people from different backgrounds, with very different personalities, are put together, but these differences can also sometimes lead to tension.
Right now, one of your coworkers isn’t pleasing everyone, and delivering this negative feedback has become your responsibility. You’re probably dreading this conversation, but when approached the right way, it can lead to positive changes. The secret to success is making sure they don’t feel attacked.
Here’s some advice to help you structure this conversation the right way.
Five Tips to Deliver Negative Feedback to a Coworker
You might not be excited about having this conversation with your coworker, but the sooner the better. If you don’t address the situation in a timely manner, they won’t realize they’re doing anything wrong, so the behavior will continue. This will only cause more tension with the rest of the team, making time of the essence.
Focus on the Negative Behavior
A certain behavior exhibited by your coworker isn’t the best, but that doesn’t make them a bad person. Make it clear the issue isn’t personal, by focusing on the behavior you’d like them to change. For example, instead of calling them lazy, say you’ve noticed they’ve been acting a bit uninspired lately. This separates the behavior from the person, so they shouldn’t feel like you’re actually calling them a lazy person.
Allow Them to Speak Uninterrupted
No doubt, your coworker will have a response to your negative feedback. Give them the respect they deserve by listening to their side of the story uninterrupted. This will show them you truly care about them and want to work with them to find a solution that pleases everyone.
Give the Advice to Help Them Improve
Chances are, your coworker will want to change their negative behavior, but they might not know how to. Help them improve by offering advice to make changes for the better. They’ll appreciate that you care enough to set them up for success.
Offer Words of Encouragement
End the conversation on a positive note by paying your coworker a compliment. Let them know how much you enjoy having them as part of the team and praise a skill they do well. Hearing negative feedback never feels great, so this will pick them up and make them feel good. It will also help show them you only had good intentions for taking them aside for the conversation.
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