By Julie Grass

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Management Consulting + Training



Sharing negative feedback can be uncomfortable.  Here are some tips:

  • Be well prepared.  Be clear about the message you want to communicate.

  • Set aside ample time for a two-way discussion.

  • Counsel employees in a private place.

  • Turn off your phone.

  • Be specific. Give examples of unacceptable work.

  • Focus on work, not on personality.

  • Invite the employee to think with you about how they can improve their work.

  • Let them know you want them to succeed, but that itís up to them to make it happen.

  • Schedule a date to circle back and evaluate progress.



Julie Grass, Principal


Julie is the Q in Q & A.   She asks probing questions that make clients think about things differently, creating more possibility.  She is an organizational troubleshooter, a business coach, and a dynamic retreat facilitator.  Her expertise in strategic thinking, navigating people dynamics, and building a sense of "team" helps her clients obtain clarity, improve communication and take action.


She works with small entrepreneurial businesses, nonprofits and sole practitioners.  Julie teaches classes in communications, presentation skills, and project management at UCLA Extension.


When youíve lost your spark, Julie can reignite it for you. 

(Read Full Bio)


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I had a dynamic, wise mentor when I started my career.


Early on, he made one big mistake that we both learned from.  Two long-time members of his senior team developed a pattern of slacking off, missing deadlines, and producing low quality work that had to be redone by others.  Out of his fondness for these two employees and his aversion to confrontation, he looked the other way.


As a result of letting these 2 people slide, the other 8 members of the team were left to clean up the mess.  It resulted in resentment, frustration, and an eroded the sense of  team.


Fast forward.  Hereís what I would do today:

  • Clarify expectations individually with each of the culprits.  Make sure they realize the negative impact they are having on team morale.

  • Let them own responsibility for improving their work performance and mending relationships with other team members.

  • Help them identify resources they can seek out to develop missing skills (time management, organizational skills, planning). 

  • Specify priorities so they are working on the things that are most important.

  • Develop specific, measurable goals with deadlines.  Ask each of them to create an action plan and to commit to those goals and deadlines.

  • Hold them accountable. Schedule a meeting 3 months out to evaluate progress.  You know your people Ė and so you may choose to have checkpoints along the way to make sure they are tracking.


Letting people slide undermines the whole team. It lowers the bar of excellence and sends the message that sub-par work is acceptable.


Solid managers provide ongoing, honest communication with employees. 

Just as employees should be praised for their accomplishments, they deserve to be told when they are falling short. Until someone recognizes that there is a problem, they donít have a chance to fix it.





If you have other ideas that work for you, please share them with me and I will pass them along to others.  Or, if you have a great dessert recipe....