Feedback must be provided in a positive manner without avoiding the negative.
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Any kind of training requires telling the trainees how they are doing. Even though giving positive feedback is easy, you will often need to provide negative feedback as well. The impact of negative feedback on people varies. Some take it in their stride, some get demoralized, and some angry. It is difficult to predict how a person may react to a negative feedback, but by using certain effective techniques on providing criticism, you can cushion the blow of a negative feedback and, at the same time, ensure that the receiver of the criticism is not negatively impacted by it.
Pick Up the Positives with the Negatives
If it is clear that a trainee has done badly, you must communicate that to him or her. What is not clear, though, is how the trainee listened attentively to you during the training. When you have judged a trainee poorly based on the evaluation system, you need to think about the positives that you observed about that trainee. Think of at least two positives. It can be that the trainee is:
- Hardworking, attentive, persistent, curious (in terms of learning)
- Jovial, funny, kind, helpful (in terms of personality)
If you cannot find any positives in terms of learning, then you may fall back upon certain personal positive characteristics of the trainee that you observed.
Note that even if you did not observe the trainee and are not aware of what positive personality traits he or she has, you can safely use certain common positives that most of us are eager to believe we possess. Something like “You have the ability.” or “I see that you are quite bright.” can work.
Sandwiching the Negative Between the Positives
Now that you have two positives with the negative feedback, you need to place the negative between the two positives. Something like: “I was glad to see that you were communicating well with the others and having fun. A couple of things I would like you to work on are . . . You are quite bright and I am sure you can get those things straight.”
Showing confidence in the ability of trainees helps them to see themselves confident of making the change. While pointing out to trainees what is wrong and how they can correct it, you need to work on their emotions and make them motivated enough to follow your guidance.
Trainers must have a critical eye and they must notice both the bad and the good because both hold equal importance. The bad needs to be corrected, and the good must be used to get the bad corrected.
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