One of the most difficult aspects of being a manager is having to provide them with negative feedback. No employee is perfect and there is always room for improvement but sometimes you’ll have an employee who is struggling more than others. As a manager, it’s your job to guide them and help where you can so they can become the thriving employee they’re meant to be, but that usually involves telling them where they might be failing in the job. While this can be a difficult task, there are plenty of ways you can approach it in order to ensure employees understand where you’re coming from and that you’re trying to help them. Here are a few tips to help you give your employees negative feedback. 

Create A Comfortable Environment

The first thing you want to do when looking to provide an employee with negative feedback is to make sure they’re in a comfortable environment. It’s important to find a quiet place away from prying eyes in order for both of you to speak freely about the feedback, otherwise, they’re more likely to shut down and not talk to you about the what you’re telling them. Employees are more receptive when they feel comfortable and safe, whereas being scolded for something in front of their peers may make them defensive. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t come off as threatening unless it’ a more dire situation. The language you use when addressing an employee can change the way they react, so avoid using phrases such as “you need to…” or “you didn’t do…”. 

Try To See Their Perspective

As previously mentioned, employees will occasionally shut down or become defensive when they’re given negative feedback. One way to avoid this is to do your best to see their side of things. As a manager, you should ask them how they thought they handled a situation or why they approached a task the way they did. Giving your employees the opportunity to explain themselves and share their views is important in understanding where a misunderstanding or challenge may have occurred. While you may be giving an employee constructive criticism, you also want to be sure that the conversation isn’t one-sided. This also helps managers build relationships with their employees, getting a better understanding of things in their life that may be affecting their job performance.

Make Giving Feedback Normal

While giving negative feedback is of great importance in any workplace, it’s important to provide positive feedback as well. By providing both forms of feedback, it helps create a culture of feedback where both management and employees feel they can be open and honest with one another about issues in the workplace, whether they be about structure, culture, or just the work the employee or manager is doing. Make sure feedback is continuous within the workplace, and not something that happens once in a blue moon. This encourages employees to be open about the way they’re feeling and helps both management and employees understand what is expected of them.

This article was originally published on

Published by Dr Adrian Cohen

Dr. Adrian Cohen MB, BS is an expert in trauma and emergency medicine, as well as in business and leadership. He is a proud author, innovator, and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the School of Clinical Ophthalmology within the Department of Medicine at the University of Sydney in Australia. For over three decades, Dr. Adrian Cohen has been recognized for his work and innovation on numerous occasions and has been featured on television networks and programs like “Oprah”. He is the current founder and CEO of Nurochek by Headsafe. Dr. Adrian Cohen continues to leverage his knowledge and years of experience to help others in a variety of capacities. For more information visit Dr. Adrian Cohen’s website.

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