6 Tips for New Managers to be More Open to Feedback

Like it or Not - New Managers to be More Open to Feedback

There’s a Need for New Managers to be More Open to Feedback?
Few people seek out and enjoy receiving negative feedback from their coworkers.  We all want to hear the positive – how great we are at what we do.  But think of it differently.

Wouldn’t you like to get better at your job?  Wouldn’t you like your new managers to be more open to feedback even if the feedback points out what is not working well?  In fact, negative feedback, constructively given with helpful intentions, can be seen as a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.

Start by Switching the Feedback Narrative
Both executives and employees tell us that new managers are especially sensitive to criticism when they take on a new leadership role.  They see new managers are trying so hard to establish themselves as competent and deserving of their new role, that they miss out on getting the very feedback that could help them to succeed.  Too many new leaders take constructive feedback personally and become discouraged or defensive.

Time to switch the narrative from half empty to half full.  Rather than losing your confidence and, let’s be honest, responding with anger, try to look for the chance to show you are strong enough to listen, pay heed and improve.

6 Tips for New Managers to be More Open to Feedback
Here are six tips for new managers to be more open to feedback so that it helps, not hinders, their performance:

1. Authentically Ask for Feedback Often
Find several employees who care about you and are willing to share their assessments honestly. Suggest they give you feedback on two aspects of your management style that is working to support and help the team and one on where you need to improve for the good of the team.

2. Pay Attention and Listen Carefully
This is not your time to talk or to defend yourself. New managers need to actively listen to the feedback and process it as objectively as possible.  Avoid getting defensive and strive to truly understand the feedback from your source’s unique point of view.

3. Ask for Clarification, Examples and Recommendations for Improvement
The better you understand where you can improve and the context surrounding the feedback, the more likely you are to be able to improve. Seek to understand four key areas:

  • Situation: Contextually, in what situation did they observe you doing something?
  • Behavior: What specific behaviors did they observe in that situation?
  • Impact: What was their perception regarding the impact of your behavior on others?

4. Develop a Plan
Plan what actions you can take to address your shortfalls. Is your team unhappy with the way you conduct meetings for example? Learn what it takes to run meetings well (a clear agenda, basic ground rules like no interrupting, timing published and adhered to, next steps listed with responsibilities assigned, etc.) and institute these best practices one at a time.

5. Show Some Humility
Chances are your feedback givers are not the only ones who have noticed areas for improvement. Appreciate those who had the guts to share feedback with you and admit you need to work on facilitating meetings more effectively.

6. Set the Example
Be the manager who has the self-confidence to admit mistakes and the willingness to learn. Set up a system where feedback can be given directly and appropriately so that the whole team can embark on a performance improvement track.

The Bottom Line
The most effective managers are open to learning and feedback.  Change your attitude toward negative feedback as a way to tell you that you’re not good enough.  The best leaders view feedback not as personal criticism but as an opportunity to grow.

To learn more about improving as a new leader and setting up new managers to be more open to feedback, download 8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Degree Feedback

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