top of page

"Can I Give You Feedback" Will Fail

We know that communicating is one of the most important attributes of a great manager.

Starting a conversation with these famous words...

“Can I give you feedback?” will result in employee shutdown. The first thing they’ll be thinking is “What did I do wrong? I wasn’t wrong? Or oh no, I’m in trouble.” and they won’t hear a word you say.

Creating a culture of ongoing communication is key to making feedback easy to give and to receive. Here are a few strategies to begin using today:

Build Trust - Your responsibility as a leader is to build trust in your teammates. Let them know you are there to support them, help them develop their skills, help them grow and be a true servant leader. Trust takes time. You have to earn it.

Open Yourself to Feedback - If you show your team that you are open to change, and new ideas to improve, you begin creating a culture that emphasizes candid communication. And prep them for the conversation. For example “I’d love for you to take some notes on the presentation I’m giving this afternoon. I could use some new ideas to make it better.”

Reinforce more - Provide specific, positive comments on things that go well. The more specific, the better. For example, “During that client meeting, you looked her in the eyes, listened more and talked less, and did a great job of building rapport with her. Keep it up!”

Redirect less - When you need to redirect, be specific too. For example, “During that client meeting, I noticed that you asked questions, but then didn’t give the client enough time to answer. I’m sure you were nervous; that’s normal. Next time, pause and listen to the client so you can make sure you fulfill their needs.”

These skills take time to develop and you aren’t going to be perfect every time. We all get in a rush and don’t communicate the way we should. Do your best to build rapport with your teammates. Create a culture that is open and safe to be truthful. Your team will love you for it and so will your boss.

Have 52 minutes during a workout? Listen to How to Become the Manager Your Team Needs from the How to Be Awesome at Your Job podcast.


We work closely with businesses to create open, safe and collaborative cultures that attract and retain hard-working people. Learn more about our keynotes, workshops, emerging leader training and team building sessions by emailing Margie Adams at or go to

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page