Calibrating Expectations - Giving frequent, useful, feedback

You probably don’t get enough feedback from your boss. Your team members don’t, either.

Feedback is vital to calibrate and communicate shared expectations. Feedback is how we acknowledge that people have done a good or great job, meeting or exceeding expectations; and it’s how we give people nudges or start a conversation when they haven’t met expectations.

The fact is we all want feedback, from our managers, our community, our peers. We’re ambitious, driven people, and we want to know where the bar set is so we can clear it; we want recognition when we do clear it; and when we miss, we want to know so we can improve. Working in an environment where you’re not getting feedback means knowing there’s a bar there, somewhere, but not being able to see or feel it, and so having any idea whether your jumps are high enough. It’s disorienting and unsettling and unsatisfying.

Here’s a quick, 25-minute guide to giving feedback. By the time you’re done reading it, you’ll know what effective feedback looks like, how to deliver it, and how to make it a regular part of your management practice.

Feedback: Manager. Ph.D.
286KB ∙ PDF file
A 25 minute guide to giving clear, effective feedback

Other Resources

Here are some of my current favourite resources for managers starting to give feedback:

  • The Leader Lab Book by Tania Luna and LeeAnn Renninger PhD is a casual and well-thought out introduction to some foundational people-management skills, and how to combine them in different combinations. And the Leader Labs model is similar to what’s described here.

  • Rands Leadership Slack is a 20,000+ strong community of people who are interested in management, with a heavy (but not exclusive) tech focus. There are always very interesting discussions going on from which you can learn a lot, on any topic.

  • I quite like the Manager-Tools Basics Podcasts, and their book, although I don’t agree with some of the material in the later podcasts.

  • Lara Hogan has some key advice - don’t soften tough feedback, and tough love for managers giving feedback.

  • Finally, one-on-ones are a great venue for giving feedback, and my guide has some tips on how to do them well.

You can also watch my 10-minute talk, Help, I’m a Manager!, which talks about how we in research already have the advanced skills to become great managers - we just need the basics to become good managers, first.

Finally, you can always email me or even arrange a quick free call. It is very important to me to support those who have stepped up or are considering steping up to the responsibility of managing teams.