Mastering the Art of Negative Feedback

April 16, 2018

Radical candor and performance appraisals—each has its place when you need to deliver criticism.

Radical candor is the ability to challenge directly and show you care personally at the same time. Radical candor just means saying what you think while also showing concern about the person you're saying it to.

How to Have Tough Conversations

Along with a coaching and guidance mindset, the following suggestions are given for those who want to get better at delivering direct feedback:

  • Begin by clarifying your objectives. What do you want to accomplish in this conversation?
  • Script out the beginning and the end of the conversation.
  • Try to anticipate how the information will be received along with your own reaction to any response.
  • Negative feedback should be specifically focused on recognizable behaviors that can be changed rather than on personality traits or vague generalizations.

Model Best Practices

As an HR practitioner you may be required to deliver negative feedback to people over whom you have no direct authority. You can earn their trust and respect by delivering bad news in a compassionate and objective way that is designed to help them benefit from your guidance and support.

To help build a direct feedback culture, you can coach and educate managers about the best way to deliver negative feedback.

When you're on the receiving end, you can learn to approach negative feedback with an open mind and an eye toward self-improvement—and you can encourage others to do the same. This will make you a stronger, more-effective and resilient HR professional.