The consensus around feedback seems to be that if you ask your colleagues, everyone will say they would like to receive more. Especially negative. Stil, most managers put off giving negative feedback, because it is not a particularly rewarding experience.

Here are a couple of things that make giving negative feedback a little easier:

  1. Make it short and focussed. No-one like to be preached to. Don’t combine your feedback into a long list of things: if that happens you probably delayed feedback, which brings me to point 2:
  2. Deliver it as soon as possible. I’ll always try to deliver feedback in person, but this is not always possible. It is important to handle it quickly, because the situation is still fresh (and otherwise it will become another task on your list). If you’re delivering feedback two weeks after the fact, it makes it look like a big issue as well.
  3. Stick to what you know. There are always reasons for someones behavior. Mention what you saw, noticed or heard and let the other person respond to this. Don’t jump to conclusions or accusations (you’re lazy for always being late).
  4. Be specific on the new behavior. This gives the receiving party something to work with. What could he/she improve or change next time?
  5. Don’t sandwich. Everyone knows you’re doing it, but it still has a damaging effect on the feedback you’re trying to give.

Even though negative feedback is really important, it is just as important to shower people with positive feedback as well. There have been studies and countering studies about the positive/negative ratio, but as a rule of the thumb: there should at the very least be more positive than negative feedback.