Don’t be afraid to give feedback

New managers need to get in the habit of giving constant feedback.  That’s the message I got from Madeleine Blanchard (formerly Homan) as we prepared for her upcoming webinar on More Survival Skills for First Year Managers. 


You have to give feedback in the moment and you have to be comfortable with giving clear direction if that is what is needed.  New managers need to be able to say, “Maybe I wasn’t clear, or maybe there was some kind of misunderstanding, but it needs to go this way and you have to be incredibly clear with your direction.”


A big fear for new managers is that feedback will be perceived as being too critical and actually de-motivate the employee causing performance to decline even more. The opposite is true. Without proper feedback the employee will not have the information they need to perform better. This makes learning how to give productive feedback essential for new managers. 


For new managers looking to have more success with their feedback, Madeleine recommends four best practices:  

  1. Before giving feedback, be sure that there were clear agreements about goals, norms, roles, and expectations.
  2. Make sure that the relationship has sufficient trust. Ask for permission to give feedback, or at least prepare the direct report if you need to share something that might be delicate or hard to hear.
  3. Focus on behaviors that are within the employee’s control. Beating people up for things outside of their control is unreasonable.
  4. Be specific and descriptive. Describe the behaviors or data rather than giving generalizations.

Giving feedback is a critical job responsibility of any new manager. It doesn’t have to be scary, and when done well it can provide the coaching, support, and resources people need to achieve the goals that have been set. 

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