Chapter 2

Sometimes Negative Feedback Is Best

by Heidi Grant Halvorson

If I see one more article about how you should never be “critical” or “negative” when giving feedback to an employee or colleague, I think my head will explode. It’s incredibly frustrating. This kind of advice is undoubtedly well meant, and it certainly sounds good. After all, you probably don’t relish the thought of having to tell someone else what they are doing wrong—at minimum, it’s a little embarrassing for both of you.

But avoiding negative feedback is both wrongheaded and dangerous. Wrongheaded because, when delivered the right way, at the right time, criticism is in fact highly motivating. Dangerous because without awareness of the mistakes they are making, no one ...

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