How to Coach Managers to Give Effective Employee Feedback

Coaching Managers to Give Effective Employee FeedbackMany managers avoid giving critical feedback, especially when its negative, because they don’t have the time, capacity, or resources.

On top of that, giving effective employee feedback isn’t easy when you’re dealing with human emotions at work. It can be an uncomfortable, awkward, and terrifying experience for managers for several reasons.

Need help prioritizing employee feedback? Download our Practical Guide for Giving and Receiving Feedback.


Here are several reasons managers avoid giving effective employee feedback with tips for coaching managers to improve.


1. Managers want to keep their composure.


Positive feedback typically results in a happy feedback recipient. Whereas negative feedback can sometimes result in an unhappy recipient. Many managers have a natural tendency to avoid making people unhappy, but successful managers proactively thinking of ways to address potential questions, remain calm, and manage their emotions.

In order to be an effective people manager, it’s imperative to provide consistent and specific feedback. While it’s not always easy, feedback helps people understand how they are doing in the moment, and how they could improve.


2. Managers are fearful.


There are a lot of questions that surround giving and receiving feedback. 

  • How will the recipient react? 
  • Will the feedback improve or worsen the situation? 
  • Will it be taken the wrong way? 
  • Will it motivate or demotivate? 

While all of these questions are valid and sensitive concerns, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the anxiety that comes with administering feedback. Feedback shouldn’t be personal. It should be focused on work and it should always build trust. Challenge your perspective to view positive and corrective feedback as a giftHelp your employees self-evaluate and stick to the facts.


3. Managers aren’t bulldogs.


It’s not always natural for managers to approach every confrontation head on. Managers come in all shapes and sizes. “Thinkers” make decisions based on logic and analysis. They’re good at identifying flaws, but often oblivious to emotional cues. “Feelers” consider people first and reprioritize the problem.

They may over empathize or give a false sense of accomplishment. Regardless of where your managers fall on the spectrum, posturing feedback with the mindset of “how can I help?” will help them foster an authentic relationship with your employees.


4. Managers are not trained to give feedback.


Many managers don’t simply know how to give feedback, so many times they avoid the seemingly painful process altogether. Feedback is complicated, because it’s not one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one situation or person won’t necessarily work for the next. Providing proper training will empower your managers with the tools they need to tackle feedback professionally and sensitively.


5. Managers are worried about their employees’ egos.


Managers don’t want to hurt employees’ feelings. They know feedback is difficult to hear and they don’t want employees to feel threatened or discouraged. No matter what, negative or corrective feedback should always be delivered in person and shouldn’t be about proving who is right and who is wrong.

Setting realistic expectations and encouraging your employees to share their concerns regularly will make the process more human and therefore more normal for your employees. By consistently delivering and accepting feedback across the organizationyou can build a feedback culture where shared opinions are natural, authentic, and drive success at all levels.



For more tips on how to build a feedback culture where your managers are empowered and your employees are successful, download our Practical Guide to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback.

Free ebook! A Practical Guide to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback With a Growth Mindset!

Published December 24, 2019 | Written By Jocelyn Stange