How To Provide Negative Feedback To Employees.

How To Provide Negative Feedback To Employees.

It feels a bit like working backward, I know. For example, a specific result might be: I want a solution that blows our current technology out of the water. Let your team know why you’re asking. Imagine the difference between a leader who’s attached to their own ideas and one who’s available, open and curious about their team’s thought process. You’ve articulated the results you want You’ve cultivated a clear and honest perspective on your own mindset You’ve been genuinely open and curious about your team’s mindset and roadblocks But still, there’s that one person who isn’t cutting the mustard. Process, presentations, you name it…she had awesome suggestions on how to rethink things. Six months later, my team was asked to present our case study in front of senior leadership. But one of my personal strengths is the ability to grow from tough lessons, so I wouldn’t take back that experience for anything. My mindset shifted squarely from FIXED to GROWTH, with no turning back. “Excuse me,” growled Moody, “you’ve got strengths if I say you’ve got them.” Here’s to embracing limitless potential, wherever it turns up.

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Forget everything you know about giving performance feedback.

For as long as it takes to read this post, throw your 360s, PIPs and feedback sandwiches out the window.

Take a deep breath.

Now, look in the mirror. (Figuratively or literally, your choice).

Because guess what?

If someone on your team is underperforming, it has at least a wee bit to do with you. And you are the one thing you can control (um…well, most of the time, anyway).

In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, leadership guru Roger Schwarz asserts that leaders stand a better chance of motivating their talent – including under-performers – if they start with big picture results versus heading straight to individual performance.

It feels a bit like working backward, I know.

But let’s give it a go in three simple steps.


Be specific.

If you can’t articulate them to yourself clearly and succinctly, Houston – we have a problem.

Meaning, if you don’t know what success looks like, chances are good no one on your team has a clue.

This doesn’t have to be a 20-page presentation.

For example, a specific result might be: I want a solution that blows our current technology out of the water.

To motivate that result, you would have to encourage certain behaviours in yourself and in your staff. Behaviours that spark creative thinking would again be an example.

But before your mind starts spinning with thoughts about that one person on your team who can’t measure up, pause. Take a breath.


Ask your team a lot of questions. Questions about what might be getting in the way of their ability to deliver your desired results.

Ask yourself even more questions. Let your team know why you’re asking. Be open.

Notice if your mind is stuck in a loop about what you – or someone on your team – might or might not be capable of.

Schwarz believes that how you think is how you lead. So ask yourself one last question.

How effective is your mindset at leading your team to success?

Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford, has been studying achievement for decades.

Her research shows that genetics matter less than mindset when it comes to success. In her TED Talk, she compares the accomplishments of students with two different mindsets:

  • FIXED, those who believe their intelligence is limited
  • GROWTH, those who believe their potential is limitless.

Which brings us to our next task.


How you view your own potential influences how you see…