Help managers give feedback
Giving feedback is one of the most important and challenging responsibilities of a good manager. Google encourages managers to consider the following when giving feedback to their team members:
- Giving quality feedback. Ask yourself, “Do I give the same quality of feedback to each team member? Do I know my team members’ projects equally well?” After thinking about this, one manager at Google decided to make his 1:1 times longer for team members who were in a different office from him so he had enough time to have a real discussion.
- Using consistent criteria. Ask yourself, “Have I outlined expectations and anticipated outcomes for my team members? Have I defined criteria for success for each person on the team?” Using criteria that are clear creates a sense of fairness once you start evaluating team members. As you judge the team member’s performance or interpersonal skills, think about how you would evaluate that behavior if it came from someone else on the team. Be mindful of potential unconscious biases and hold yourself accountable to applying clear criteria consistently.
- Filtering based on assumptions. Ask yourself, “Do I sometimes filter what I say based on assumptions?” For example, are you ruling out a team member for a role that could involve a lot of travel because they have a child? Don't let your assumptions get in the way of you sharing an opportunity. Bring up the role with the individual or announce it to the team as a whole, and let them do their own filtering. Not unrelated, don't assume that you can’t provide honest advice to someone because they "may not be able to handle it.” Assumptions can be based on unconscious stereotypes of a particular group, and the key is to keep communication and messaging consistent for all.
- Making sure you are understood. Ask yourself: “Am I making sure my message was accurately understood?” The more differences there are between you and the person to whom you are giving feedback, the higher the possibility your message wasn’t received quite as intended. Your message may go through more filters and cultural assumptions than you may anticipate. Ask to hear what the team member understood and clarify the message if needed.