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Many supervisors are not keen giving negative feedback to their workers. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. And research has shown, as many already suspect, that negative feedback does little to change a person’s performance.

Studies have revealed that negative feedback leads to poor attitudes, an unwillingness to deal with the criticism or change behavior.

Psychological research, however, has found that there are three important background factors that have a significant effect on how well negative feedback works. These factors are the perceived credibility of the person giving the feedback, the perceived intention behind the feedback, and the clarity of explanation of expected changes.

1. Credibility of the supervisor

If you are a supervisor, you have to consider what kind of credibility you have with your employee. It is a matter of perception — how your competency is perceived by your employee. You may understand well what the job requirements are for the worker and have a thorough knowledge of what needs to be done to succeed in the job.

But if the employee doesn’t recognize or acknowledge your expertise, the feedback will fall mostly on deaf ears. It is also possible that your age, race, or gender might affect the way you are perceived by the employee and could make your feedback more problematic.

For example, a female supervisor with a non-technical background may have difficulty giving effective feedback to a male employee who works in a technical area.

2. Ultimate purpose of the feedback

The feedback will also not be very effective if the employee has reservations about the supervisor’s intentions or motivation for giving the feedback. For example, if the employee believes the feedback is simply a way to compile evidence for eventual termination, he or she is likely to be less inclined to act on it.

That is why the supervisor has to be clear about what his or her purpose is in giving the feedback. The supervisor needs to explain that it is meant to improve performance.

3. Clear expectations

For the feedback to have any value, the person receiving it must know exactly what is expected of him or her. The performance goals need to be spelled out clearly. In addition, the employee needs to know what to do to reach the goals and how progress will be measured.

He or she also needs to know what the time frame is for the effort. And the employee needs to have the resources available to enable him to reach the goals.

Winston Resources is here to provide your company with the talent you need to make your business the best it can be. We have the knowledge and experience to help your business with the people you need. Give us a call today.


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