6 Ways for Managers to Give Better Feedback

6 Ways for Managers to Give Better Feedback
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Ways for Managers to Give Better Feedback
If you seriously care about your team and its performance, help managers to give better feedback so it’s heard, well received and acted upon.

Managers Struggle With Giving Employees Feedback
We know from thousands of new manager training participants, that most leaders and employees want managers to give better feedback.  The good news is that it is possible for managers to give better feedback by following a few manager feedback 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 clarity, performance and success.

1.  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 goal is to help an employee see how a change in their approach or behavior would directly help them and their team. Your aim as a manager is to improve the employee’s performance and their level of employee engagement.

2.  Be Very Specific
General comments are not helpful and leave most employees confused as to which aspect of their behavior or performance needs improvement. Commenting that

  • “The report you gave at the meeting today would be much more effective if you used less data and focused only on the top 3 proof points that mattered most to your target audience.”

is far more compelling than commenting than

  • “Your report was to confusing and put half the team to sleep.”

Unfortunately, too many managers are hesitant to be specific and give constructive feedback that is helpful and relevant.

3.  Deliver Negative Feedback Privately…One-on-one
And negative feedback may be better received in a neutral setting rather than from across a 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.  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 morph or grow. Too many 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.  Be Direct and Straightforward
If you try to bury the constructive criticism in layers of praise, the feedback is likely to be misconstrued, ignored or overlooked. Too many managers are afraid of offending their employees and so say something ineffective 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?

  • “To feel more comfortable, I need more numbers that justify and support your final recommendation.”

Just say what you mean.

6.  Focus on Behaviors and Performance, Not Personality
Feedback focused on our behaviors (what we do) is typically easier to accept than than feedback focused on our personality (who we are.)  For example, talking over others in meetings should be addressed as causing a problem in shutting down open communication rather than as being domineering or arrogant.

The Bottom Line
Managers need to practice giving effective feedback if they want to build positive relationships with their team. Feedback effectively given can build trust and help relationships deepen and thrive.

To learn more about helping managers to give better feedback and effectively manage others, Download The New Manager Toolkit Now

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