6 Ways for New Managers to Give Better Feedback

If you seriously care about your team and its performance (and you should as a new manager), you need to learn how to give effective employee feedback so it’s well received and acted upon.

We know from thousands of new manager training participants, that most new managers struggle to give their employees feedback effectively. But it can be done by following a few new manager training tips. Do it right and you may well find that your feedback is not avoided but invited because your employees see the results in their improved performance and success.

  1. First, you need to genuinely believe in the intention of effective feedback.
    The purpose of effective feedback is not to belittle. It is to support your employee. Your feedback should be constructive, not destructive. The point is to help an employee see how a change in their approach or behavior would help them and the team. Your aim as a new manager is to improve the employee’s performance and level of employee engagement.
  2. To be effective, feedback must be very specific.
    General comments are not helpful and leave most employees confused as to which aspect of their performance needs improvement. Commenting that “the report you gave at the meeting today would be much more effective if you used fewer data…only those that are relevant” is far more compelling than commenting that “your report put half the team to sleep.” Too many new manager training participants are hesitant to be specific with their performance feedback.
  3. Feedback should be delivered privately…one-on-one.
    And it might be better received in a neutral setting rather than from across a new manager’s desk. Take a break for coffee or a walk together in the fresh air. And be sure to leave time for employee questions. The better your employee understands what should be improved and why, the more likely they are to take your message to heart.
  4. Feedback needs to be timely.
    Frequent and brief feedback conversations are much more effective than quarterly or even monthly sessions. When you delay feedback too long, you risk forgetting to deal with the problem or allowing it to grow. Too many new managers wait for a formal process to prompt them to provide meaningful feedback. Remember that high performing employees want to know how they are doing.
  5. Direct and straightforward is the best approach.
    If you try to bury the constructive criticism in layers of praise, the feedback is likely to be ignored or overlooked. Too many new managers are afraid of offending their employees and so say something like, “Your report was on time and just the right length. Next time, more data on how you came to the conclusion would be helpful. But it was easy to read and I like the graph on the second page.” So what did the manager really mean to say? “I need more numbers that justify and support your final recommendation.”
  6. Remember that feedback should focus on performance, not on personality.
    Talking over others in meetings should be addressed as causing a problem in shutting down open communication rather than as being domineering or arrogant.

Just ask new manager training experts. New managers need to practice giving effective feedback. They want to build positive relationships with their new team members. Feedback effectively given can build trust and help those relationships deepen and thrive.

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