My Management Philosophy on Feedback

Recently, we got a glimpse into internal emails sent by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.  They were both to a large audience and both were critical of internal efforts.  I found these to be reassuring in that they seem to echo my own personal philosophy regarding employee feedback:  Be candid, tell people (individually or collectively) when they do a good job and tell them when they don’t meet your expectations.

I prefer to give feedback direclty to the people, even if there are levels of management between us.  To some people this may be a bit of a shock.  In my experience many managers have trouble giving people negative feedback.  But I believe people need to understand what is expected and how they need to improve to meet expectations.  Hearing it directly from me has additional weight and ensures nothing is lost through intermediaries.

Of course there are a number of amazing things being done at Affinity and Ministry every day.  I try to thank people for their extraordinary efforts.  It is hard to recognize all of the good work.  It is one of the most challenging things in a division of 200+ people.

2 thoughts on “My Management Philosophy on Feedback

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your blog and posts. Came across it through the WordPress tag surfer.

    I agree with your management philosophy on feedback, but this approach doesn’t quite work everywhere. One needs to be culturally aware and sensitive of the appropriateness of direct feedback. I still try to manage this here in Asia Pacific where being circumspect and polite are the rule. This makes providing immediate corrective feedback for example, a bit tricky because it is often not positive (unfortunately).

    What I’ve done is to turn the nature of feedback to be more of a coaching opportunity. This works well, but the downside is that it’s quite time consuming for me. Finding the right balance continues.

    Hope to continue reading more.


  2. Agree with Lui – need to be very sensitive when giving feedback (positive & negative) in non-US cultures. I also have found Asia reacts very different to feedback of any kind, as does (in a different way) Eastern Europe …

    But I agree with Will that direct communication is paramount.


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