Skip to main content

Kacharagadla Featured Article

5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

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

Comments