What do you think makes a great manager? Emotional intelligence? Sure, that’s par for the course. Perhaps someone who connects well with other human beings in the age of robots? Let’s hope so.
The traits of successful managers are many, but despite how crucial this one particular habit is for employees’ development, some managers aren’t wired to give it; others just don’t like to do it, plain and simple.
I speak of a manager’s inability to give feedback.
This is a problem, because when team members aren’t receiving feedback regularly they start to wonder why. Employees are humans and they need to know how they are performing.
Here are three reasons why feedback is so critical and what happens when employees are not getting it:
1. They avoid their managers.
When managers don’t make ongoing “check-in” conversations a normal part of the work routine to let their team members know what’s going on and how they’re doing, it causes a pattern of unwanted behavior in employees. You may see worried and apprehensive employees keeping their heads down and staying out of their managers’ way. When fear, uncertainty, and lack of direction permeates the workplace, you begin to see fewer risks being taken and fewer problems being solved on a proactive level.
2. They trust their managers less.
Team members need to feel psychologically safe to be at their best. To create a safe environment where employees feel they can grow and improve, managers must invest in their success and regularly communicate that their development is a top priority. Setting high expectations for team members by giving feedback ensures they know how valued and valuable they are, and, when feedback is backed by action on behalf of team members, it increases loyalty and trust in workers.
3. They think their jobs are at risk.
Human beings tend to have a negative reaction to anything that seems like a threat–it’s in our nature. When managers go radio silent, it makes people feel like their job is at risk, causing them either to shut down or walk on eggshells and go on stealth mode. In any case, you can bet that they’ll be performing worse, not better. That’s why regular feedback should be ingrained into every manager’s daily habits. It pumps fear and doubts out of the atmosphere and releases team members from the mental shackles of wondering if they should be updating their résumés.
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