By: Courtney Beam
The Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Feedback for New Managers
Can I give you some feedback? It is hard to receive this question and sometimes even harder to ask. Providing feedback is an essential leadership skill that new (and even some experienced) managers struggle with. When this skill is mastered, it gives managers the power to have a meaningful impact on their employees’ performance, engagement, and success – and ultimately the organization – by helping their employees become even better at what they do well and improve in areas where they fall short.
So, what is the best way to deliver constructive feedback?
DON’T wait: It is easy to sweep feedback under the rug and save it for an annual performance review, especially when it is negative. Always avoid waiting until a formal review to deliver constructive feedback. Waiting will only catch employees off guard, hinder trust and delay the opportunity for them to improve their performance.
DO stick to the facts: State both your observations and your perception of the situation. Your observations can include facts about their behavior, what they said, their tone of voice, quality of work, or trends in their behavior. Then, state your perception of what you observed. Your perception can include your interpretation of the data or event and how it made you feel. This helps employees understand the impact of their actions and sets the stage for honest and sincere conversations moving forward.
DON’T forget to pause: Once you have delivered your observations and perception, pause to let them process the information. Consider that you have had time to think about the feedback while they are likely hearing it for the first time. This gives the employee a chance to recall, reflect and share their reaction to the feedback. This simple step can turn the act of delivering feedback into a collaborative conversation.
DO make a plan to move forward: Discuss with the employee the best way to move forward. It is important to agree on a solution to ensure you have both bought into the next steps. This will ensure any necessary conversations related to the feedback in the future will be objective and easier to approach.
DON’T only focus on the negative: When appropriate, take time to express appreciation for a job well done. When appreciation is expressed in a meaningful and genuine way, it can build trust within your reporting relationships. When the time comes to deliver constructive feedback, employees will be more likely to perceive it as an opportunity to improve instead of an attack.
Providing effective feedback is a critical and often overlooked skill when training new managers. If you are a leader of new managers and are looking for ways to help them develop this essential leadership skill, contact us to explore our comprehensive leadership development solution, the Accelerator Program™.