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Are You Using the Right Style of Feedback?

In her Girl’s Guide to Project Management blog, Elizabeth Harrin discusses Ann Carroll’s four methods of giving feedback in the workplace. Once you know where you most excel at giving feedback, you can start supplementing your approach with other strategies to address your blind spots.

4 Ways to Give Feedback that Works

  • The Motivator
  • The Charger
  • The Empathizer
  • The Analyzer

You are a motivator if you: are consistently supportive toward the team as a whole. Giving “corrective feedback” is not your strong suit however, and your weakness comes from not approaching individuals who are lagging to give them more targeted, one-on-one coaching. Luckily, if you’re a PM using the matrix structure, you can count on a line manager to help you with corrective feedback.

You are a charger if you: just give it to folks upfront and honestly. This kind of confident blitzkrieg feedback shows that you know what success is and know how to get it. Just as a caution, this approach can manifest as overly critical and it communicates that you are disengaged from the emotional needs of individuals. For balance, add a touch of personal feedback.

You are an empathizer if you: have a marvelous intuition for the needs of individuals’ feelings and career aspirations. You’re great at building personal connections, which is why you so easily earn the trust of your employees. If this is you, resist the urge to over-manage the emotions of your staff. Take off the kid gloves every so often and use straight talk if it helps evolve the team.

You are an analyzer if you: need data to deliver the kind of feedback you deem helpful to achieve a given objective. This is a great approach in technical environments, so the IT PM is at an advantage here. However, if you don’t have all day to get the facts straight you still need to provide feedback. Furthermore, expect and accept that emotions come along with every logical response to your feedback, so be prepared to deal with the ‘people’ side of the interaction.

You can read the original blog at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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