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Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ

When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude). Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new. Common sense wou…

5 Positive Ways to Constructively Critique Employees

There inevitably comes a time when a manager has to give negative feedback. It’s inevitable. No employee is perfect. Everyone can use a little improvement. The tricky part is providing feedback in a way that doesn’t send the employee spiraling into a pit of despair and self-loathing. That’s one way to get on the bad boss list.
When it’s time for the annual review, or even a much-needed discussion with an underperforming employee, don’t hide from the impending uncomfortable situation. Negative feedback can be dished out in a way that doesn’t damage egos, or send employees packing. In fact, when given in a positive way, negative feedback can be very motivational and inspiring.

An article from Psychology Today explains how to give good constructive feedback using the sandwich method. Start with a compliment, gently add what needs improvement, then top it off with another compliment.While this method can be applied to giving feedback almost every time, here are some additional tips for giving negative feedback in a positive way:

1. Discuss the objective issue, not the person. Don’t make statements that personally call out the employee like, “you should,” “you didn’t,” or “your skills.” Instead, discuss the issue by saying, “customers can’t get what they need,” or “this isn’t clear.”

2. Talk about what’s going well. It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything wrong with a situation. However, employees can’t replace the void of knowing what not to do without knowing what to do. Compliment the employee on her strengths. Encourage the employee to do more of what she already knows how to do well. Then, when you give the negative feedback, the employee won’t feel like everything she does is wrong.

3. Show the numbers. A big-headed employee might have a tough time believing he isn’t getting the job done. Or, perhaps the employee needs a visual to understand the concern. A visual performance report can help demonstrate issues with data to help everyone understand the big picture goals.

4. Get on the employee’s level. One of the worst things that can lead a review conversation awry is the employee feeling at a lower level of intelligence or skill. Don’t talk down to the employee, as if he is less intelligent because his performance is suffering. Try to find the source of the problem. Relate to the employee by sharing a personal story about a similar problem, and explain how it was resolved.

5. Reaffirm faith in the employee. Express the importance of the employee’s valuable skills, and assure him he will improve. Remind him he was hired for a reason. Feedback will only make him stronger, as long as he channels it into accomplishing his goals.

While these are immediate methods for giving negative feedback, planning ahead will help. A 2013 World at Work study found 64 percent of employers believe recognition has an extremely positive effect on employee engagement and retention.

Throughout the year, acknowledge anniversaries or any significant personal achievements employees make from the start. A company can do this regularly, giving out awards to keep morale on a high level in general. Then, employees will be less averse to negative feedback because it has been balanced by regular positive feedback.


Overall, when giving negative feedback, have a positive attitude and demeanor. Don’t let emotions take over. Supporting the team by giving feedback is necessary, and directly affects the success of the company. Plus, employees have an opportunity to learn their strengths and areas of opportunity. So pull the reports, relax, go forth and encourage the team!
- Matt Straz

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