Want to be a better Manager? – You need to learn how to give and receive “Feedback”

We can spend thousands of dollars obtaining customer feedback yet when it comes to internal feedback, this is something that people seem to try and avoid at any cost?

Do you want to have a happy team, low staff turnover, no industrial employee action and no bullying or harassment issues in addition to being able to grow and develop faster in your career??? Learn how to give and receive feedback effectively and this will certainly assist in a significant way.

How to receive feedback?

Would you say that your staff feel comfortable providing you with feedback? Before you answer this quickly….this means, are you really available and accessible to your team? Do they feel like they can come to you and do they have access to you? Are you so busy, that staff feel like they do not want to interrupt you? Are they coming to you with ideas, to highlight problems/issues and/or discuss personal issues that maybe impacting their ability to effectively perform their role? If they are not, ask yourself why not and what you are potentially missing out on? Are you creating an environment that makes your team feel comfortable expressing themselves?

Here are some tips that might assist:-


  • Tell new starters that you value their feedback when they start and what is the best way for them to provide it to you directly (ie days of the week / email / phone / open door / book appointment etc).
  • Ensure you are having one on one’s with your direct reports and at the end of the agenda, have an agenda item titled feedback which provides them with the opportunity for both of you to comment.
  • Listen carefully and do not get angry or dismissive if you don’t agree with feedback that may be provided. Feedback – good or bad is incredibly valuable to you as an individual.
  • Make sure you understand the feedback as specifically as you can ie if someone says “sometimes you can appear aggressive” – ask if they would be kind enough to provide examples and also if there is somewhere they know that positively demonstrates this type of behaviour.
  • If you are not receiving any feedback, find a way of conducting your own 360 ie ask for a coffee with a manager, direct report and peer and ensure you provide them permission to openly provide feedback on you as a manager ie what are you strengths, what are key areas of development, how would they describe your management style, how you make people feel, does your team feel supported, are you approachable etc. If people struggle to answer these questions, you pretty much have your answer.

If staff or managers do confide in you and provide feedback or discuss personal issues:-

  • make sure you keep this information confidential (topic permitting). Where this does not happen, this message gets out pretty quickly and people will not do it again in the future.
  • Whether the information they provide is positive or negative – ensure you thank them for their feedback. While you may or may not agree with what they are saying – it is the fact that it is negatively impacting one of your team which is the key issue that you need to address.

If you receive feedback well and are genuinely thankful when people take the time to provide feedback and it is a good experience for the person doing so, how likely is it do you believe that people will feel comfortable coming to you in the future if they have any ideas, issues or concerns? Pretty likely I feel!

How to give feedback?

All too often I hear from staff that the only time they ever receive feedback is during performance reviews annually……and that is in fact if they even have them.

Feedback is gold……and you need to establish this as part of your culture accordingly. Constructive feedback – good and bad allows people to grow, learn, improve, reflect and celebrate.

Some tips about how feedback should be given:-


  • Feedback should be provided frequently and regularly so it becomes part of the culture.
  • Feedback should not just be hierarchical….ie manager down. It should go all ways – ie upwards, downwards and sideways.
  • Always be respectful and genuine – sarcastic comments is not same as constructive feedback.
  • Always ask for permission to provide feedback – ie “Is it ok if I give you some feedback”. In this instance, where people are asked, the way they receive feedback is much more openly.
  • Use the ‘feedback sandwich’ approach where appropriate ie positive/negative/positive comment ie “you have really grasped the key concepts of the role quickly (positive)…..you would achieve any even greater result if you were able to focus on ABC (negative/constructive)……however, I am more than confident that you will be able to nail this and please do not hesitate to let me know if I can support you any way (positive).


If you can establish a culture where staff feel listened to, feedback is welcomed and your direct reports and your managers feel comfortable providing you with feedback, you are well on your way to contributing to building a high performance culture.


© Paulette Kolarz 2013