Manager Tools’ Feedback Model


Interpersonal feedback, managerial skills The last two articles discussed the popular ‘sandwich technique‘ for giving interpersonal feedback. The first article introduced the sandwich feedback technique. The second article critiqued this method and discussed three common mistakes that render the sandwich technique ineffective.

This follow-up article will introduce an effective feedback technique and list links for further information.

This article focuses on manager-to-employee feedback. However this feedback model can be the foundation for giving feedback in other interpersonal contexts as well—between peers or between spouses, for instance.

The Manager Tools Feedback Model

Manager Tools is a widely-admired suite of management techniques to help shape effective managers and leaders. The weekly podcasts on this site feature Manager Tools’ principals, Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne, discussing their tools and tips to help audiences advance their managerial and leadership skills. The discussion forums are useful as well.

Perhaps the most popular and most effective of the Manager Tools ideas is the effective feedback model. Here is a summary of the four steps in this feedback technique.

  1. Ask an employee whether they are open to some feedback. Example: “Jack, may I give you some feedback?”
  2. Describe specific behavior you saw, heard, or read about. Example: “Jack, when you roll your eyes in meetings when others talk; when you say “you guys don’t get it”; when you come late to meetings and leave in the middle…”
  3. Describe the impact of the behavior. Once you have described what you observed, tell them what you felt or what impact it had on the company, project, or team. Example: “Jack, when you roll your eyes and tell others they “don’t get it”, here’s what happens. We lose good people. You lose opportunities you want, like that last move that you didn’t get.”
  4. Discuss next steps. Even with affirmative (positive) feedback, state “Good work. Keep it up.” For corrective (negative) feedback, ask open-ended or leading questions to encourage the employee to suggest change. Example: “What can you do about this? How can I help you?”

Further Information

Here are links to podcasts and references for further information on the Manager Tools effective feedback model.

Call for Action

Feedback is a central component of the manager-employee relationship. Employees get better at their jobs only when their managers give them timely, relevant and forthright feedback — both affirmative and corrective feedback.

Use the Manager Tools feedback model to enhance your feedback skills and communicate effectively with employees.


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