How to Give Effective Feedback as a New Manager

How to Give Effective Feedback as a New Manager
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How to Give Effective Feedback as a New Manager
Giving effective feedback is a manager’s most useful tool in shaping performance and developing the team.  But don’t use the graphic above as an example.  The illustration, rather than showing how to give effective feedback as a new manager, is more an example of what NOT to do.

Five Components of Effective Feedback
If you want to know how to give effective feedback as a new manager, we recommend you start with the basics.  Overall, new manager training about helpful employee feedback contains at least five components by:

  1. Demonstrating a Genuine Intent to Support the Employee’s Success
    As a new manager especially, examine the intent of your feedback.  If the true intent of your feedback is to defend your own behavior, confirm your authority, or to appease a third party, you are probably giving feedback for the wrong reasons.

    If on the other hand, the purpose of your feedback is to help your employee reach their potential and succeed, you are probably doing the right thing for the right reasons.  When you are genuinely interested in developing your team member, they will be far more committed to listening and making an active effort to improve.

    With the right intent, employee feedback does not always need to be positive.  Sometimes, negative behavior needs to be pointed out in order to make changes that are needed to be successful.

  2. Encouraging the Right Behaviors
    Make sure you work toward improving the behaviors that matter most – the ones that align with the business strategy and desired company culture.  If your strategy, for example, is to improve customer loyalty, focus on the performance and behaviors related to positive customer interactions such as listening well, checking for accurate understanding, helping to solve customer problems, etc.
  3. Informing How to Improve With Specifics
    General comments like “you’re doing great” or “that did not go well” have little value in changing behavior or improving performance.  You need to call out a specific behavior and then cite examples of how it could have been handled differently and better.

    Too many managers whitewash negative feedback to avoid difficult conversations or to protect feelings. But for employees to improve, they need (and deserve) frequent, clear, and actionable feedback.  When it comes to employee feedback, ambiguity is the enemy of learning, career advancement, and higher performance.

  4. Creating a Two-Way Discussion
    Effective managers model the kind of open discussions you want with your team members by being sure to invite their input and suggestions on how to improve.  Starting off with a few questions to understand their perspective can set the stage for a two-way dialogue.  Often, when given the chance, employees can critique their performance quite correctly and will have good ideas on how they can practice and improve.
  5. Having a Clear Purpose and Benefit for the Individual and the Team
    Make sure your employees understand exactly how the improved performance will benefit both themselves and the team.  Better customer facing skills, for instance, will result in happier clients, fewer complaints, and better business.

    When you link the desired behaviors and performance to beneficial personal and professional impacts, the feedback is much more likely to be internalized and acted upon.

The Bottom Line
As a manager, you are responsible for creating the environment to get the most from your team.  Use constructive feedback to encourage the behaviors you want and to discourage the behaviors that go against your strategy and your culture.  The more you do it, the better the odds that your team will focus on their ability to change and grow.

To learn more about how to give effective feedback as a new manager, download 8 Reasons Why Leaders Need 360 Feedback

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