Giving a colleague or team memberÂ negative feedback can be a pretty nerve-wracking task – even if you were askedÂ for your opinion. You need to decide on the best approach to take and find the right words to describe specific examples and possible impacts clearly and concisely. The situationÂ becomesÂ evenÂ more demanding if your feedback meetsÂ with resistance, misunderstanding or unexpected reactions.
You can’t prepare down to the last detail, but you can certainlyÂ learn a few phrasesÂ to introduce your comments. Here areÂ someÂ suggestions.
Picking the right moment
However valuable your feedback, finding the right moment to deliver it is key. Use these phrases to check whether this is a goodÂ time before you start.
- You asked me to look at your report, is now a good moment to talk about it?
- Have you got a moment? Iâ€™d like to talk to you about …
- Can I have a word about …
- Are you interested in some feedback on …?
- Would you like a few pointers on your … ?
Mentioning the positives
You can use phrases such as the following to introduce praise, to talk about strong points and aspects which you feel the recipient handled well.
- I thought â€¦ was very effective.
- In general, I think your presentation went very well.
- I really like the way you â€¦
- I can see youâ€™ve put a lot of work into â€¦
- What I liked most about â€¦
Describing negative points you observed
To avoid sounding reproachful, accusatory or even aggressive use neutral language and describe what you observed as specifically as possible.
- When you presented last monthâ€™s figures, I noticed that â€¦
- At several points during the presentation, I saw that you …
- When I read your report I didnâ€™t quite understand â€¦
- I saw that â€¦
- I recognised that â€¦
Explaining the (possible) impact
You can use the following phrases to explain what effect the behaviour mentioned had on you or what effect you fear it may have had or will have on others.
- This meant that I â€¦
- For me this came across as being â€¦
- This annoyed / surprised / confusedÂ me, because â€¦
- Iâ€™m worried that this will lead to /result in â€¦
- I think thereâ€™s a risk that â€¦
Talking about improvements
After youâ€™ve delivered your feedback the question is: Where does it go from here? Here are some phrases that you can useÂ to ask for ideas or make suggestions:
- Have you got any ideas how could you do this differently in future?
- How do you suggest improving on this next time?
- What could you do to … ?
- How else could you â€¦ ?
- Can you think of any alternatives â€¦ ?Â
- Have you consideredâ€¦?
- What do you think aboutâ€¦?