Welcome to Part 2 of this three-part blog-series on How to be a Great Manager. In this series, I’m sharing how you can unlock your hidden potential and elevate your ability to lead and manage people.
Part I focused on the importance and “how to” define expectations and empower employees to deliver on projects, initiatives and/or tasks. Part II is going to focus on providing timely and actionable feedback.
So why is it important to provide timely and actionable feedback – it’s so we can help our team members build their confidence and elevate their performance.
If you don’t feel a sense of confidence in what you’re doing, chances are you aren’t going to be able to perform well. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how well you’re performing today, then you can’t possibly know what you need to do to get better.
A great people manager understands this – so, when giving feedback, be sure to give positive and developmental feedback.
Giving positive feedback in the way of recognizing and calling out someone’s strengths and contributions goes a long in helping someone feel confident about their abilities.
Giving developmental feedback helps people understand how they can truly elevate their performance. Be sure when you’re giving development feedback that it focuses on a specific non-personal issue and comes from a place of “being supportive” – and not “shaming someone.”
For example … saying something like “Jane your quiet disposition is preventing you from selling your ideas to Sr. Leadership” – isn’t helpful because it implies that Jane’s personal disposition is the issue which is not true. This type of feedback is likely going to make Jane feel bad about herself, which obviously isn’t going to help her gain confidence or perform stronger.
Instead, saying something like, “Jane, I’d like to share some feedback with you. Is that ok?” is a great way to start. Asking for permission like this helps remove any emotional charge people might have, helping them focus on the rational part of their brain. Then, continuing with something like: “I know you were disappointed after the last meeting with Sr. Leadership because they weren’t comfortable moving forward with your new product idea. I want you to know that it happens – we don’t always get Sr. Leadership’s alignment. That said, I’m seeing a great opportunity for you to dial up your influence skills by focusing on how to push forward when you’re met with disagreement from Sr. Leaders; what do you think?” This language acknowledges the challenge, is specific about the developmental opportunity and helps get buy-in to work on it.
And wrapping up conversation up with something like: “Great, please put some time on the calendar so we can talk more about how you’d like to approach it” helps ensure future action is taken.
Lastly, be sure the feedback is timely. Imagine if in the example above Jane’s manager gave her this feedback at her annual performance review after she’d had multiple product ideas turned down – not good – always be sure to share feedback at the time when it can be most helpful.
If you’re thinking … “this is all pretty straightforward and simple, you’re right it is – but remember, it’s not happening so try and be mindful about when and how you’re giving your team feedback because that feedback can make all the difference in the world when it comes to you and your team achieving their goals.
And remember, I’m available for one on one coaching if you want some help strengthening your people management skills – email (email@example.com) or call (847.776.9000) me anytime. You can also schedule time for us to talk right on my calendar using this link.
P.S. Don’t forget check back in a couple weeks to read Part III in the blog series where I’ll be talking more about the 3rd factor that makes someone a great people manager – Recognizing and Knowing How to Activate Potential.