“Okay, they’ve turned up late again. I have to talk to them. But what if something is going on at home? I don’t want to upset them more… Maybe I’ll leave it for now.”
“Right, their work has really taken a hit. I need to ask what’s going on. I can’t approve this work. How do I tell them nicely? What if they take it to heart and just become more disengaged?”
“I’ll just avoid the negative feedback and focus on the good. Hopefully, they’ll read between the lines.”
For managers, there is an expectation that you automatically stop being empathetic and prioritise business goals over your people – especially when they’re underperforming. When most managers are promoted for high performance – often leading former peers – and only around 20% of UK leaders have any formal management training, this just doesn’t work.
Think about it, when managers are hired or promoted, employers are looking for the kind of qualities they know will make a team thrive:
Being a great communicator should make feedback and reviews easy, but the reality is 44% of managers find giving developmental feedback uncomfortable or stressful – presumably because of all the empathy.
Managers are struggling with feedback anxiety. Reviews have become rigid, structured, and focused on the negatives, so managers feel under pressure before they begin.
The good news: feedback anxiety is mostly one-sided. While managers dread performance reviews for underperforming employees, many employees actually appreciate tough love. In fact, younger generations are not afraid of feedback. 63% of Gen Z say they want to hear constructive performance throughout the year.
Breathe – remember to breathe, always!
First, let’s tackle the anxiety.
Just like with any type of anxiety, here are a few coping techniques:
Next, think of what you want to achieve from the feedback you’re about to give. If your employee isn’t performing their best, your role as their manager is to support, encourage, and motivate them. So, you need to learn how to give negative feedback in a way that doesn’t upset or demotivate your employee.
Digitise employee reviews, track employee performance, and say goodbye to feedback anxiety with the help of our seamless and innovative performance management systems. Get in touch and we’ll show you exactly how to transform your performance management strategy.