As a manager, your role is to make sure all of your employees are on track and meeting the company’s expectations. Part of ensuring that could require you to give constructive criticism. It is important to make sure that advice you give them is indeed constructive and not just criticism.
Employees are proven to work better when they feel appreciated and comfortable in their environment. The last thing you want to do is scold them for a mistake and have them walking on egg shells, scared to take chances and work to their full potential. So when that awkward situation does arise, when you have to tell someone they did something wrong, make sure you do it the right way. Here are a couple of tips:
- Know that everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has the potential to fix their mistakes. Just because they messed up once does not mean they are broken.
- Addressing the problem as soon as it happens is the best time. Think of it like a PR mishap. If something happens that needs to be addressed, silence only makes the matter worse.
- Make sure you are focusing on what they did, not who they are. For example, if someone gets a complaint from a customer that one of your employees was rude, make sure you don’t call them a rude person when you address the problem but instead explain how they can come across rude to some people and how they can work on fixing it.
- Use facts to explain what happened and why it can’t happen again. Stay away from saying “I don’t like it when…” and try using phrases like “It works more efficiently when…”
- Give examples and incentives why they should change staying away from “or else you will be fired.” “When you give great customer service, people talk about it. This helps the company grow and will help you grow.” or “Our company recognizes excellence and there is always room to move up…”
This situation can always be an easier one if you are constantly “catching someone when they are doing something right”. If you let people know when they are doing a good job, it is almost expected that you will let them know when there is something they can work on. There may be people that you just don’t get along with, but as a manager you have to know that the environment you create reflects the health of your company. If you address problems using constructive criticism using the tips above, you can avoid many uncomfortable situations.