When you’re just starting in a new leadership role, it can be daunting feeling confident about giving feedback. Here are some tips to help you.
1. Fear of not being liked
One of the top reasons why we won’t like giving feedback is the underlying fear of not being liked by them after you’ve given them feedback.
You might be someone who has a fear of conflict and when you are trying to give someone a negative feedback, your mind can trick you into feeling nervous and scared to have to ruin someone’s day and potentially not being liked anymore. And the easier thing to do is to not provide feedback and hoping that things will resolve itself.
As a manager your role is for the team to trust you, not to like you (a lesson I had to learn myself) so you have to have that mindset that it is okay if an individual doesn’t like you after this conversation because the team needs you to be direct and honest and be a great manager.
2. Feedback is actually a good thing
It may sound cliche but feedback truly is a gift and you might be the first manager who has truly listened and brave enough to give direct feedback to give this person, probably for the first time ever in their career. This really is a gift for them because throughout their career this employee could have been doing things wrong, could have been bulldozing through their career and putting others down even with their best of intentions and nobody has bothered or care enough to give them that feedback.
You might be the first person and even though they may not want to hear it at the beginning but once they work through it they would be grateful that you cared.
3. Focus on the end goal.
If this person becomes better after your feedback, the team ultimately becomes better for it. You are sacrificing short-term pain be brave enough to sit in the room, face the discomfort of trying to give that feedback. In the long-term the team would be so grateful for that.
You will see better teamwork which is ultimately your goal as a manager.
4. Recognize the impact of one underperforming individual
It’s amazing to me how you could have multiple team members who are doing great and you have one underperforming team member or one team member who’s maybe more abrasive or controlling and to have the whole team now doing well.
All it takes is just one underperforming individual so feedback truly is really important here because once you’re able to tackle this feedback for this individual you’ll be amazed how much more improved the team would be.
5. Practice, practice, practice!
When I first started as a manager, just the thought of giving feedback scares the shit out of me. The thought of sitting in a room to give people bad news can sound daunting. After so many opportunities to practice and really going through with the fear, I rarely hesitate to give feedback. You might not be there right now but know that it’s like any skill, can be improved with practice.
You can start by practising with easier feedback. Prepare and practice using a script with tougher feedback and rehearse a few times. Practice that with someone else will help make you feel more confident.
I’ve also conducted workshops where we role-play giving feedback. One person will be the pretend manager, the other pretend employee. Given a scenario, we practice giving that feedback for a few minutes and once the timer goes off, the pretend employee can provide feedback on how it feels to be on the receiving end and if there’s ways to improve.
Role-playing may sound simple but going through it myself, I’ll have to admit that it’s quite powerful.