Better Way to Give Bad News

There is a positive way to give negative feedback

Step 1: Explain the possible consequences for you both. Example: "The GM got a bit annoyed with me last week and I'm sure he expects much higher performance from my department. I know that if this continues, he is likely to come down on us pretty hard."

Step 2: Describe the behavior that is causing you the problem. Example: "For the last three weeks, the reports I get each week from your department have been at least a day late."

Step 3: Ask for his/her assistance. Example: "What can you do to help me solve this situation?"

Step 4: As the manager, you must take responsibility for the performance problem. After all, if the employee's performance does not improve, whose problem is it? For example you might start the conversation with :"Stephen, I have an (issue / problem / situation) that I need your help with."

Step 5:
Tell him/her how you feel about the problem. Example: "I am keen to keep a good relationship with our GM."

Step 6: Explain why this is a problem for you. .Example: "This means that I can't get the reports collated with those from the other departments in time to get them to the GM to meet his deadline."

The underlying principles to keep in mind when applying this approach are:

As the manager, you always maintain ownership of the problem

The aim of the process is to have the employee take ownership of the solution

Always describe the action of the employee, not them, their personality or their character. Use positive words and avoid words such as "but", "Yes, but" - for more information on the use of positive words see "Are You Positive or Negative"


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