Almost any manager who conducts reviews or has to give employee feedback, especially negative feedback, dreads it worse than most any other aspect of management…and with good reason. Feedback is serious business. An article by Kenneth M. Nowack indicates that more positive than negative feedback in one’s life can increase longevity. As follows, the opposite is true. Too much negative feedback can shorten the lifespan. Now you may feel fainter than ever at the thought of giving feedback. Unfortunately, managers are not hired to only provide positive feedback.
One way to lessen the faint feeling is to train supervisors how to give feedback. While not providing feedback is not an option, many organizations use assessments, to determine how the employee likes and does not like to be communicated with in the first place. Reading about ideas on how to give feedback helps as well. For example, Mr. Nowack suggests a technique called Feedforward created by Marshall Goldsmith. Feedforward works like this when offering feedback: “Next time you are in a staff meeting, you can be even more effective in getting everyone to participate by directly asking for the opinion of others.” Such feedback helps reduce defensive reactions and increases likely receptivity.
In a recent article by Dori Meinert, Senior Writer for HR Magazine, she supports the idea that feedback “creates as much anxiety for the giver or the receiver.” The article cites advice from a book entitled Thanks for the Feedback by Sheila Heen a consultant. Ms. Heen suggests that the onus is on the receiver to be “in control of what they take in and whether they decide to do anything about it.”