September 8, 2005
News & Opinion: Advice for The New Manager
Sports has always understood the difference between coaching and playing. Business has a hard time with that. The better the player (i.e. individual contributor) you are, the quicker they want to make you the coach (i.e. manager). Worse than that, there is very little training for new managers at most companies.
Amacom has a title called The First Time Manager by Lorin Belker and Gary Topchik. It is a great primer for a new "coach". I like the topics they cover. Here is a little piece on showing appreciation:
There are many managers, especially newer ones, who are uncomfortable giving praise. It is a new skill set for them. This is to be expected. In order to become more comfortable expressing appreciation, you have to do it. The more you practice it the easier it will become. Consider some of the following points when giving praise or showing appreciation:
Be Specific. If managers want certain behaviors repeated, they need to be specific in the type of positive feedback they give. The more detailed the manager is, the more likely the behavior or action will be repeated.
Describe the Impact. Most team members like to know how their work ties into the bigger picture or the larger scheme of things such as meeting the objective of the unit, department, or organization.
Do not overdo it. Many managers go to extremes when they give positive feedback. They give their team members too much positive feedback. When this occurs, the impact of the important feedback is diminished and the praise may seem insincere.
I think this advice can also be valuable for giving constructive feedback.