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Dread Giving Negative Feedback? Read this.

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Feedback is a great way to help your team gear into high-performance.

As leaders, our team looks to us to help them get better at what they do at work.

Leaders who desire to sustain a "good" relationship with the staff often share how they dread giving negative feedback. Many share that they fear that it would damage the relationship that they have put so much to positively motivate.

On the contrary, many employees view feedback as a gift - be it negative or positive feedback about their performance. As long as the feedback is to help them improve, they want to know. It's a great way for them to gauge how they are doing and make the appropriate adjustments when needed. Positive feedback are often welcomed.

And the surprise? A whopping 92% of employees agree that negative feedback appropriately delivered is highly effective at improving performance.

There is a caveat to this, though. Feedback, especially negative ones, must be skillfully delivered for best impact.

For a leader that drives high performance and engagement, it is a core skill one needs to learn and strengthen.


Many issues arise when leaders dread giving negative feedback so much, they procrastinate, and procrastinate, and procrastinate. Until they reach the edge, for example, appraisal-time, when they have no choice but to share the negative feedback as part of performance assessment. This normally plays out where the receiver is taken by surprise and is disappointed. A common soundbite - "Why did my line manager not tell me this earlier so that I have the opportunity of time to rectify. "


Let me share a feedback framework that I personally found useful in my own leadership journey. I like it because it is simple and keeps the conversation focused on the issue rather than the person. It's called SBI.

Situation: Briefly state the situation that you are referring to.

Behaviour: State the behaviour that you observed

Impact: State why the behaviour impacted the outcome.

Thereafter, you can:

  • solicit a response from the receiver. Allow clarification and understanding.

  • relate it to how the impact of the observed behaviour connect to your organization vision and purpose.

  • discuss changes the person could make to improve their behaviour.

All through the process, be self-aware and prepare well. Deliver the feedback with care and interest to support the other person. Be aware of your own emotions and it impacts. Delivery is not only the words. Be aware of your tone and body language as well.

In conclusion, feedback is a skill that leaders can leverage to support their team members. Delivering it well optimizes your leadership performance as it accelerates the growth of your team.

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Reach out to me if you would like to brainstorm pro-active ways to support your leaders in these challenging times. Happy to help!


I am #CoachWendyWong, passionate about helping talents optimize potential by building leadership skills creatively through coaching and training in Asia.

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