Feedback an endangered species, management trainer discovers


I’m always a bit shocked to hear managers, team leaders and supervisors say they get very little feedback in their role. It’s disturbing to hear people question themselves as to whether they are doing an alright job, because they really don’t know. For many people, their annual performance appraisal is the only time they have 1:1 time with their manager and the only time they get to hear about their work. And what is even more shocking is to hear the type of feedback many people get, when they do get it. Typically, the feedback comes in four forms: O (meaning nothing at all); O Nothing (meaning next to nothing); xx**##!! (meaning negative feedback given in a dreadful way) and RIP (means killer feedback that is so negative, damaging and personally crushing that the recipient is left a complete mess, shredded of their confidence and sometimes unable to carry on in their role). Very rarely do I hear of people getting constructive feedback – feedback which endorses the positives and identifies the areas needing attention – and delivered in a way that is professional, supports the recipient and enables them to go forward with confidence. My hope is that managers learn how to give constructive feedback to their staff; that they endorse great work by noticing it and immediately commenting on it (it’s the best way to have it repeated); and that they get onto poor performance as soon as it first appears, so that corrective actions can be taken in a timely, appropriate manner. An interesting exercise for every manager to do is to ask “when did I last get positive feedback from my manager?” and to ask “when did I last give positive feedback to my staff?”. If they find they are having to trawl their memory banks back months or years, it’s time to have a good look at the organisational culture, mission and values and their own management practises in this area.

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