No one sets out to hurt a co-worker’s feelings when delivering less-than-stellar feedback. But it happens a lot.
That’s usually more of a result of the way the message is being delivered, rather than the message itself.
You already know not to give negative feedback in front of others and to focus on the behaviors you want changed, rather than the actual person.
But make sure you also keep the following in mind to ensure your criticism is received in the spirit it was intended:
- Start and end with something positive. Beginning on a good note will “warm” the person and make him or her more receptive to what you have to say. And by concluding with a positive, the person may be less likely to stew about whatever the “critical” portion of the conversation was and feel less like it was an attack.
- Use objective data wherever possible. “Your attitude hasn’t been the best” isn’t nearly as effective as, “Your collection call stats have been slipping of late.” A lot harder for that to look personal.
- Try for “one and done.” Unless it’s a persistent problem, address the issue once, then don’t go back to it again. Otherwise, the person might think he or she is being picked on.