How to Confront Employees with Awkward Feedback?

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Photo Credit:’s SIphotography

You can be a top class businessman, and yet, being unable to properly deal with employees may leave you at risk of losing a good company asset in future.

Delivering negative feedback is always uncomfortable to the employers. Even if it’s just refusal to a promotion or a deep analysis of an employee’s personal and intellectual growth, it takes some guts and ethics to confront them with solid/honest critique.

There is an abundance of examples to delineate the issue, but I will discuss only two over here. Let’s see which situations can be the most difficult to tackle and how you can sort them out.

Situation 1. Your employee got kickass skills but refuses to grow:

We all have seen those employees who start out awesome, show enthusiasm to learn, and adjust as quickly as possible. The new environment poses them a challenge that requires some ‘real’ attention. Once they are through with the initial threat, they relax. It’s not even a deliberate act of losing interest, it happens pretty naturally.

Remedy: to help an employee get back to his optimum pace, offer him a new challenge to sort out. You can give him a task or position where he hasn’t worked before so that he feels compelled to stretch his mind and limits.

If you have previously conducted any employee feedback surveys, try to use that collected data to analyze where your employee desires to end up in the long run. After that, wherever possible, try to align the challenges you offer with his dreams and goals. For instance, if your employee visualizes himself as an entrepreneur ten years down the road, it would be an excellent idea to pique his interest by offering him a position in the planning and strategy building department of the company.

Moreover, you can show employees the outcome of their work and how it benefits others. Research in employee behavior reveals a positive impact on the productivity level once an employee knows the ultimate value and importance of his work.

Situation 2. Your employee wants a promotion he hasn’t earned yet:

There will always be those employees looking for career advancement before they are even ready and you can’t just burst their bubble by being a tactless business owner. If your employee asks for a promotion that you think he doesn’t yet deserve, here is a simple solution:

Remedy: Don’t become a villain by refusing outright. Start by asking concrete questions and pointing out aspects he might haven’t thought about before. Start by asking why they feel they should be promoted in the first place? What they think they achieved to deserve it? How does it contribute to fulfilling their future goals? etc.

Your sole objective for this exercise is to understand where that person is coming from and where he aims to go from there. A discussion is a discussion so let it be one. If he is less capable of handling a higher position because of misunderstanding the requirements for it, explain to him the job description; both of his current and desired positions, and give suggestions to help him get there.

Been there, done that? Let us know how you overcame these issues. Do share some other sticky situations that may have troubled you in the past. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.