Ask Employees This Key Feedback Question

Hopefully you've learned that a key part of being a great manager is listening. To yourself, to your team, and to all the things around you. Many times, you learn multiple things from listening to one thing.

A great question for your team in your 1-on-1s is: what is the best piece of feedback - positive or negative - that you have ever received? How was it delivered and why was it so valuable?

Really listen to how they answer this. You'll learn what that feedback was and how it impacted their behavior - for sure. You will also learn how they like to receive feedback, which you should incorporate as best you can.

I've also used this question to discover what the employee considers important and how they reacted. For example, I had one employee who told me a piece of negative feedback that he received. He said at first he didn't believe it and pushed back on it. The manager never brought it up again, but the employee started to pay more attention to situations. After several weeks, he realized the manager was right and started to change his behavior.

What that told me what that if I could get this employee to listen, his initial reaction wasn't as important as just communicating the message. He would observe and ruminate on it and if he noticed what I said to be true, he would change eventually. He didn't need, or want, me to continually raise the issue. That might have made him too defensive. Just mention and let him think. That impacted how I gave feedback to him in the future.

Everyone on your team is different. Great Managers learn how to use the personality of each individual to help them perform, which helps the team.