To make negative feedback less harsh and more effective, simply add the word “yet,” the Inc.com article “This Little Word Will Make You a Better Manager” advises. Being the bearer of bad news is always hard, but this one tiny word can make a world of difference.
“It’s a tiny shift that makes a huge difference, essentially transmuting your criticism from a fundamental performance flaw into an area for improvement in which you’re confident your employee can advance with sufficient effort,” Inc.com contributor Jessica Stillman writes.
Consider this example: Your boss pulls you aside and says, “You don’t have the right skills for the project.” Or, he/she says “You don’t have the right skills for the project, yet.” The one word addition turns the comment from completely derogatory to more of a suggestion and a display of confidence that they have the potential to succeed. This avoids making you the bad guy, helps prevent the employee from becoming dejected, and more effectively encourages them to work toward success.