How to Give Constructive Feedback

One of the toughest parts of a manager’s job is giving employees constructive feedback. But it’s also one of the most important superpowers managers must improve.

Without good feedback, workers won’t grow. Whether it’s positive or negative, employees need to know where they stand. For our purposes, we’ll use the example of a superhero who has excelled at giving feedback: Charles “Professor X” Xavier, the founder and leader of the X-Men.

For years, Professor X has run a private school that trains mutants and turns them into superheroes like you. It’s not an easy job – he just makes it look easy. Here are four tips to give better feedback like the leader of the X-Men: [Read more…]

When good employee’s success becomes negative

Shy, but eager, employee lets success go to her head

Part of being a good manager is coaxing average performers to overachieve.

And generally that’s a good thing.

But with some employees, a little success can go to their heads – and create major headaches for managers. [Read more…]

Top performer doesn’t play by the rules – and co-workers are grumbling

The Scenario

“Being a manager would be a lot easier without employees,” sighed supervisor Ford Swick, dropping into that chair across from HR director Stu Capper’s desk.

“True, but the pay probably wouldn’t be as good.” said Stu. “Something you want to talk about?”

“It’s Mike Sands,” said Ford. “My most productive employee – and the guy who doesn’t think the rules apply to him.” [Read more…]

4 Questions You Must Ask Yourself – Before that Next Difficult Conversation

We all do it. Ignore that difficult conversation, hoping the issue will go away.

But we all know how this story ends. Behavior gets worse, the good people get frustrated and they resent us for having to clean up the mess.


When we finally get the stones to have the conversation, we start over-thinking the issue. What if she denies what I am saying? What if he tries to compare himself to other people’s behavior? What if she is silent and doesn’t say anything?

You can’t script these conversations.  No one likes to be told they are doing something wrong and how they will respond is unpredictable.

But there are proven ways to prepare for the difficult conversation and improve the odds of getting what you want. Here are 4 questions to help you prepare: [Read more…]

3 tactful ways to tell someone “You’re Wrong”

No one’s right all the time. When it’s your job to set the record straight, flat-out telling someone he or she is wrong isn’t the best way to get your point across.

Why? It’ll make the person defensive and put the kibosh on effective communication. Instead, say

1) “I see your point, and I think…” Try to stay away from the word “but.” If you say, “but I…” you’re saying you really don’t see the person’s point. Using the word “and” makes the individual feel like he or she has a good point, just not one that can be used now. [Read more…]

Performance Reviews: 5 questions to better prep your employees

Frequent performance reviews go a long way in making sure your employees know what they are doing well – and where they can improve.

But when workers don’t actively participate, reviews can also be a dead-end street.

Solutions: You should offer questions to your people – to formulate their own insights before they sit down for formal reviews. Here are some suggestions:

Let them tell you

  • What are your responsibilities? Rate how you are doing in each area. The answer tells supervisors which duties are most important to the employee, and where they do well.

[Read more…]

Four Difficult Types of Employees: Feedback Do’s and Don’ts

Guest Post by Judith Lindenberger

Whether you are dealing with a difficult person or motivating someone to be a more positive contributor, employee feedback is a powerful management tool. Many of us work with these four difficult types of employees and the guidance below will help you have constructive feedback sessions:

Bomb- Four Difficult Types of Employees- Feedback Do’s and Don’tsThe Bomb—an unguided missile who has a track record of bursts of anger.

Keep in mind the time-honored adage that you can’t control another person, but you can control what you say. Start by thinking through what you need to get out of this feedback session. How can you frame the conversation so he gets it? Be prepared to speak clearly and concisely, and don’t back down.

Think about the conversation like a game of chess and strategize. If he does get angry, what might he do and say? How will you respond in a way that’s calm, positive, and firm so you can move the conversation in the direction it needs to go?

If you find yourself losing control and getting angry, end the meeting and reschedule. And, if you think the employee could become violent, have a third person—perhaps from HR—with you during the meeting. [Read more…]