Negative feedback is defined as any input or comments provided as a result of and adverse outcome in job performance. This form of feedback is most often used to improve performance but can very easily backfire on a manager. Often negative feedback is given with a position of authority and superiority which is a large blind spot and one of the largest contributors to managers being rated poorly and having low productivity and poor retention.
According to a study by Joseph Rosse and Howard Miller the best approach to negative feedback is to approach employees from their level with an attitude of problem-solving. Too often the result of negative feedback is counterproductive behavior such as retaliation, exits, or general neglect going forward.
Another hurdle to face with negative feedback is the associated with the impact of the negative feedback bias. This theory states that even though people might receive several doses of positive feedback they will always place more emphasis and more importance on negative feedback given even if a performance review is overwhelmingly positive. Psychologists say that negative thoughts take more neurons to process and thus naturally consume a larger part of our thoughts.
Alton Simmons is a good example of providing negative feedback in the form of a traffic ticket. Alton has 0 complaints from citizens reported to the department. Over the last 20 years after more than 25,000 traffic stops this officer has received 0 complaints.
Alton says he never looks at himself as a position of authority. He simply sees their behavior as a temporary problem and tries to help them solve it with a good attitude. As one driver stated “I’ve never been so happy to get a speeding ticket in all my life. This was the best part of my day so far!”.