IT Managers Need To Know How To Plan A Feedback Session

by drjim on January 31, 2013

Feedback sessions are how your team learns to do things better

Feedback sessions are how your team learns to do things better

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How do you feel when the annual review time comes around each year? If you are like most IT managers, you are not looking forward to this exercise – it takes a lot of time and the value is, shall we say, questionable. However, perhaps you’re looking at this all wrong – feedback sessions should one of the IT manager skills that we all have. Maybe the reason that you’ve not been getting a lot out of your feedback sessions is because you don’t know how to prepare for them…

Know What You Want To Talk About

One of the biggest challenges that IT managers run into when it’s time to have a feedback session with a member of your team is that they go into these meetings unprepared. They haven’t had the correct IT manager training. Since having to have a sit down talk with a team member in order to address ways that they can improve their work performance is not something that most IT managers look forward to, they put off preparing for it until it’s too late.

What you should be doing is giving some thought to what you are going to want to occur as a result of having the feedback session with your team member. A good place to start is to sit down before the meeting and take the time to write out exactly what the issue or behavior is that you are going to need to either correct or reinforce.

Just talking about behaviors is often not enough. What you are going to need to do is to make sure that the team member understands why these behaviors are important enough for the two of you to discuss. One very good way to get this point across is to show how it impacts both the organization and other people who work on the person’s team.

Make Sure That You Understand Your Purpose

During my career, I’ve participated in countless feedback sessions. However, I would be hard-pressed to tell you what the purpose of any of these meeting was. Clearly, this was a missed opportunity.

As an IT manager, you need to make sure that you don’t make the same mistake. Prior to holding the feedback session you need to make sure that you have very clearly identified what you want the purpose of the meeting to be.

As the meeting starts, one of the first things that you are going to want to cover with your team member is exactly what you are hoping to get out of the meeting. Once they know what the purpose of the meeting is, they will be in a better position to actively participate and contribute to making it worthwhile for both of you.

What All Of This Means For You

Very few IT managers look forward to holding feedback sessions with their team members. It takes time, generally requires that paperwork be filled out, and basically seems to serve very little purpose.

However, if you realize that a feedback session can provide you with a unique opportunity for IT team building to either correct or reinforce a behavior, then you’ll understand the value of this type of meeting. Take the time to communicate the significance of the behavior, both organizational and personal, to the team member.

If IT managers don’t provide their team members with feedback, then they won’t have the ability to determine if they are doing a good job. Feedback sessions are a requirement of being an IT manager and by following these suggestions you can make them valuable for both your and members of your team.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think that you should hold feedback sessions?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Good communication skills are what make an IT manager great. This is one of the IT manager skills that we all need to have. One way that we can show off how good our communication skills are is to conduct effective feedback sessions with our team members. How to make the best use of the time that is spent in a feedback session is a skill that every IT manager needs to have.

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