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For many, “we need to talk” are four of the scariest words. When they come from your boss, getting nervous is just par for the course.

While delivering constructive criticism is simply part of being a manager, that does not mean you need to strike fear into the hearts of your staff before that conversation begins. Luckily, there are ways to accomplish the task while also calming their nerves, ensuring they are receptive to the feedback you are going to provide.

If you want to know how you can tell an employee you need to talk, without freaking them out, here are some tips to make it easier.

Make Feedback a Routine

If a manager doesn’t deliver feedback often, the second they call an employee into their office for a discussion signals the news probably isn’t good. By default, your team member is going to be nervous, likely assuming they are in trouble or, possibly, about to be fired.

However, if you schedule regular meetings to provide feedback, speaking with an employee becomes less daunting for both of you. Set up monthly meetings with each member of your team, and make sure to never deviate from the schedule. That way, being called in is expected and normal, reducing the level of anxiety surrounding the conversation.

Don’t Focus Solely on the Negative

While offering constructive criticism is important, you also want to make sure your feedback isn’t completely negative. Heading into a meeting where the employee knows they are about to be criticized is going to make them nervous or even resentful, especially if you never have anything positive to say.

Start each meeting with a compliment to help make the tone more upbeat. You can also request updates on current projects, allowing you to gauge where they are today.

If you do need to say something negative, make sure you aren’t just tearing the worker down. Instead, use facts when discussing the issue (ideally, supported by evidence and data) and avoid being emotional about the situation. Additionally, make sure you are specific when speaking about problems you’ve noticed, providing clear examples to illustrate your main point. You can also discuss how the situation is falling short of your expectations, reiterating them as you proceed.

Then, shift quickly into problem-solving mode, engaging with the employee to find solutions together. That way, you are both involved in helping the team member improve, and not just telling them how they messed up.

By using the approach above, you can make delivering feedback less daunting for everyone involved, including yourself. Plus, you may achieve better results, ensuring your team is being given an opportunity to improve and thrive, and not just torn down for not meeting your expectations.

If you would like to know more, the staff at PrideStaff Atlanta can help!

Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our employee feedback expertise can benefit

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