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Get Over Your Discomfort and Learn to Deliver Effective Feedback

Learning to master feedback is every first-time manager’s bogeyman. It’s also an issue for many experienced managers. Experienced doesn’t mean good.

We avoid it, dilute it, or (metaphorically) beat people over the head with it.

We think that people don’t want to be told what they’re doing wrong. Or right.

Practice Is Critical

Delivering effective, constructive and positive feedback is a learned discipline. You need to understand the building blocks of an effective feedback conversation. You need to understand how to configure these building blocks. And then, you need to practice putting them together and conducting these conversations.

You will screw up.

You will mismanage some of these discussions. Some people are experts at helping you mismanage these discussions. The best of them will turn the conversation into a critique of your management ineffectiveness.

You need to learn not only to deliver the discussions but to manage the conversations.

The Upside of Mastering Feedback

Get feedback right, and this is one of the most potent performance-promoting tools in your manager’s toolkit. Ken Blanchard calls feedback, “The breakfast of champions.”

Your effective use of feedback will support the development of your team members. It will...

How Decluttering and Downsizing Could Help Agencies Get Off GAO’s High Risk List

The government has long struggled to effectively manage its real estate. Despite progress in recent years, federal real property management appeared once again on the Government Accountability Office’s latest list of high risk areas, as it has every year since 2003. The sheer size of the federal government’s real estate portfolio—approximately 273,000 buildings that are leased or owned in the United States, costing billions of dollars annually to operate and maintain—requires a new management approach.

Enter the 2016 Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act. The FAST Act essentially codified policies to freeze or reduce the federal government’s footprint by establishing a Public Buildings Reform Board, tasked with identifying opportunities for the government to significantly reduce its inventory of civilian real property and corresponding costs. Under the new law, which was enacted in December 2016, every agency is required to submit to the General Services Administration and Office of Management and Budget the following:

  • Current data on all federal civilian real properties owned, leased, or controlled by each agency.
  • Recommendations for properties that could be sold, leased out, transferred to another agency, consolidated or redeveloped.
  • Recommendations for ways to more efficiently operate and maintain properties...

Understanding These Three Principles Will Help You Develop True Intrinsic Motivation

What motivates us? Fear and punishment? Or money, fame, and power?

One train of thought, called self-determination theory, starts from the idea that all humans have the natural—or intrinsic—tendency to behave in effective and healthful ways.

Central to self-determination theory, or SDT, is the distinction between two types of motivation—autonomous motivation (sometimes also called intrinsic motivation) and controlled motivation.

“Autonomous motivation has to do with engaging in an activity with a full sense of willingness and volition,” explains psychologist Edward Deci of the University of Rochester. “Whereas controlled motivation means doing something with the experience of pressure and obligation.”

“The whole field of motivation has changed over the last 40 years, from thinking about how you can control people from the outside to thinking how you can really facilitate and support people’s commitment and engagement in activities,” says Richard Ryan, a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical and social sciences in psychology.

Self-determination theory’s three components

The evidence-based theory holds that all humans have a basic need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In a nutshell: Research by the pair (and inspired by them) suggests that we need to feel that we can succeed at a...

9 Mistakes New Managers Should Avoid

Rookie manager mistakes. They’re predictable. They’re also mostly preventable.

Here are nine that jump up and bite too many first-time managers.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Rookie Manager Mistake No. 1: Assuming you’ve been tapped for this new role to “shake things up.”

Reality: In the history of first-time managers, approximately zero were promoted into their new role with the charter to “shake things up.” The boss who promoted you is cautiously optimistic that you won’t screw things up too badly. Maybe over time, if you prove capable you will be able to shake gently.

Rookie Manager Mistake No. 2: Assuming the people on your new team are happy to see you in this role.

Reality: There are likely to be a variety of opinions about your elevation to this role, ranging from resentment to jealousy to ambivalence. Beware the false enthusiasm. Everyone’s waiting to see who and what you are before deciding whether to support or subvert you. You’ve got to earn your credibility.

Rookie Manager Mistake No. 3: Adopting the “I’m in charge” tone.

Reality: The last person who uttered the phrase, “There’s a new sheriff in town,” and got away with...

The Top 10 Challenges for New Managers

Some jobs are harder than others. Navigating the waters of your first-time manager position ranks high on the list.

The initial few weeks (years) are what I term the early-awkward phase. Mastery isn’t an issue. Survival is. Mastery comes next decade. Maybe.

Most individuals arrive at their first-time management position in one of two ways: battlefield promotion or deliberate development program. You can guess which one is most common.

The battlefield promotion path to management means you’ve got a heartbeat and someone somewhere has a feeling you won’t screw this up too badly. And if you do, well, they’ll promote the next one standing.

For those of you fortunate enough to come to your new role via a proper development path, complete with training, coaching and ample time guiding initiatives, you’ve got a slight advantage. You at least have a clue about what you don’t know.

Regardless of your path to the role, you have at least 10 challenges to navigate the minute you walk in the door on your first day:

Top Ten Challenges of the New Manager:

  1. Gain you subordinates’ trust.
  2. Establish your credibility.
  3. Show respect.
  4. Understand the mission of your team...