Tips for constructively sharing negative feedback

Evaluators often have to share negative results, and offer constructive feedback based on evaluation results. How to make sure these are received in a way that will help your organization, or the one you’re supporting? I, like most people, find giving negative feedback pretty awkward and difficult. I want to get my point across, and I worry that whomever I’m talking with will automatically be defensive, and not hear what I have to say. When I ran across this article “What’s Your Feedback Flavor? How To Give Negative Feedback Beyond The Compliment Sandwich” I had to check it out.

This article provides some great advice on how to give negative feedback in a constructive way. Here are my key takeaways I thought that I’d share here:

  • Constructive criticism works best when there’s trust between parties.
  • Be sure to listen to what the other person has to say. Come with questions. You may not have the whole picture, and be upfront about that. Ask for input as you’re interpreting results. This is setting yourself up as a partner, not someone that will bring judgement.
  • Be specific and provide recommendations for how to move ahead.
  • Do it at the appropriate time and give people a heads up about what you’d like to discuss.
  • Help them correct course. Your work as an evaluator doesn’t need to end with the report. You have a role to play in helping to determine next steps.

I’ll try to put these practice, and I hope these tips can help others, too!

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