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Mastering the Art of Feedback: Insights from a People Manager

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As a seasoned people manager across several roles in different types of corporations, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of feedback in fostering growth and success within teams. Over the years, I’ve learned valuable lessons about giving and receiving feedback effectively, especially in the dynamic landscape of today’s changing workforce.

In today’s new remote work norm, the significance of providing regular and meaningful feedback has never been more important. As a people manager navigating the realm of work-from-home schedules, I’ve come to recognize the unique challenges and opportunities that this mode of work presents. In the absence of face-to-face interactions, the need for intentional and consistent feedback becomes essential for success.

One of the primary reasons why feedback is especially crucial in remote work scenarios is the potential for isolation. Working from home can lead to a sense of detachment from the team and the organization as a whole. Regular feedback acts as a bridge, connecting individuals to the broader objectives and ensuring that they feel recognized and valued for their contributions. It helps foster a sense of belonging, combating the isolation that remote work may inadvertently bring.

Moreover, the virtual nature of remote work can sometimes lead to misinterpretations or misunderstandings. Without the ability to gauge non-verbal cues or have impromptu conversations, the risk of communication gaps increases. Thoughtful feedback serves as a mechanism to clarify expectations, align goals, and address any ambiguities promptly. It acts as a virtual compass, guiding team members in the right direction and promoting a shared understanding of objectives.

In essence, the shift to remote work underscores the importance of intentional feedback as a cornerstone for maintaining team cohesion, clarifying expectations, and promoting continuous improvement. As a people manager, embracing the challenge of providing effective feedback in the virtual realm not only nurtures individual growth but also cultivates a resilient and collaborative team dynamic in the era of flexible work arrangements.

Here are some additional insights and tips based on my experience as a people manager.

Tips for Giving & Receiving Feedback as a Manager

Understanding Generational Preferences

It’s essential to recognize that different generations have varying preferences when it comes to feedback. For instance, studies show that 60% of Gen Z workers prefer multiple check-ins, with 40% even desiring daily updates. Similarly, half of Millennial workers require feedback every few weeks to feel engaged. As a manager, being aware of these preferences can help tailor your approach to meet the needs of your team members.

Navigating Sensitivities

Gen X workers, in particular, are more sensitive to micromanagement and may prefer less frequent feedback. Understanding this, I strive to strike a balance between providing support and giving them the space they need to thrive independently.

Effective Feedback Delivery

When giving feedback, it’s crucial to avoid the “sandwich” approach, where negative feedback is sandwiched between two positive comments. Instead, I focus on delivering feedback constructively and ending on an actionable note. This ensures clarity and enables the recipient to understand and act upon the feedback provided.

Seeking Feedback Proactively

Feedback shouldn’t be a one-way street. As a manager, I actively seek feedback from team members and colleagues outside my department. This not only fosters a culture of openness and collaboration but also allows me to continuously improve and grow in my role.

Creating a Safe Environment

It’s essential to cultivate a safe and supportive environment where team members feel comfortable asking for and receiving feedback. By promoting open communication and emphasizing that feedback is about actions and not personal traits, we create a culture where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute.

Embracing Small Feedback

Even the smallest pieces of feedback can have a significant impact, especially for younger workers. Whether it’s a quick acknowledgment of a job well done or a gentle nudge towards improvement, sharing timely feedback reinforces positive behaviors and drives continuous growth.

Data-Driven Approach

Feedback is not about criticism or judgment but rather about providing valuable data for improvement. By approaching feedback from a data-driven perspective, we remove emotions from the equation and focus on actionable insights that drive individual and collective success.

Mastering the art of feedback is essential for fostering a culture of growth, learning, and collaboration within teams. By understanding generational preferences, delivering feedback effectively, and creating a safe and supportive environment, we can empower our team members to reach their full potential and achieve shared goals.

As a people manager, embracing feedback as a tool for development is key to unlocking the full potential of our teams and driving lasting success in the workplace.

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