Administering employee corrections is never an easy task. As a manager, it’s difficult to deliver negative feedback in such a way as to improve the employee’s behaviour and avoid the employee becoming demoralized or defensive. Before you tackle your next employee correction, THINK about the message you’re delivering.
T – True: Is the correction or criticism you’re delivering true? Did you directly observe the behavior that’s being criticized or (if it was reported by another person) have you been able to confirm it? There are many sides to every story – be sure that you ask your employee for his or her side to be clear on what truly happened.
H – Helpful: Is your feedback going to be helpful? Simply pointing out an error and not providing guidance to rectify or avoid the problem in the future is not constructive. Give your employee steps or ideas to ensure that the cause for criticism is removed in the future.
I – Inspiring: Is your correction delivered in such a way as to be inspiring towards better behaviour in the future? Let your employee know that you have faith in their ability to resolve the problem in the future, and you’re willing to support them with whatever tools or steps he or she needs to become a better employee.
N – Necessary: Is your correction necessary? And can you help your employee understand WHY it was necessary? Often employees can’t foresee the potential outcomes for their negative performance. Tying a particular action (ie being rude to a customer) to a larger result (ie loss of revenue from the customer) can help them see the big picture and understand why the correction was unavoidable.
K – Kind: Is your criticism delivered in a kind but firm manner? An employee being corrected is very likely to be embarrassed and defensive. Neutralize potential conflict by delivering your correction in a kind way while emphasizing that it’s the behaviour or situation that you’re correcting, not the employee personally.