Have you been in the position where you have had to give an employee some negative feedback? If you are like most of us, you dread these conversations. It’s hard to be the bearer of bad news. And yet, if we don’t share this important information in a timely manner and in a way that people can hear, we are doing our employees a disservice. I advocate that leaders need to take a “conscious” approach in their interactions, which requires intentional acts and a lot of mental preparation. For instance, being proactive and making it a practice to follow Covey’s advice to “put deposits in the bank.” It’s much easier to make a withdrawal with an employee when you’ve stored up a bank account of good will. Another practice is to be mindful before you act. Ask yourself: (1) Am I calm and clear?; (2) Have I put myself into the other person’s shoes?; (3) Am I acting consistent with my values?; (4) Is it my intention to improve the situation?; and (5) Am I about to act as the person I want to be? A workforce that flourishes and grows needs both positive and negative feedback. Doing this internal work– that is being inwardly focused so you can be outwardly effective– puts you in a much stronger position to yield the desired results.