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  • 1.  Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 05-30-2024 10:46 AM

    Very soon, I will become personnel manager to a handful of employees. I am already the technical/task manager for a few of them, but will now also be responsible for approving time and conducting reviews as well.

    I hope to be able to manage effectively, correct a few issues I have already seen, and reward/encourage all of the other things staff already do well. To that end, I would like to learn from others about what they see as the best way to give feedback to staff throughout the year, not just at the end of year. If possible I would also like to hear about the best way people have been able to leave themselves open to receiving feedback from the staff they manage as well. 

    Thanks in advance.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 2.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 06-03-2024 01:16 PM

    I have several thoughts.

    1. My go-to resource for HR capacity building is the Harvard Business Review. I just watched this video from HBR and thought it was very good. https://hbr.org/video/6298630529001/how-to-give-feedbackespecially-when-youre-dreading-it
    2. It's essential to give ongoing feedback, good and bad, and not let things pile up. Documentation is also important, particularly when it comes to under-performance.
    3. Your role as a leader is to develop others, not compete with them. This can require a mindset shift. It also means that when you give feedback, it should always be grounded in helping the individual grow and develop.
    4. I used to ask my reports if there was anything I could do in my leadership capacity to help them unlock a problem or overcome a challenge. This is one approach for soliciting feedback. 
    5. It is helpful when there is a set of established behaviors against which to measure. Not all companies have this sort of thing. The same goes for project or technical goals.

    Mitch Winkler P.E.(inactive), M.ASCE
    Houston, TX

  • 3.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 06-03-2024 01:16 PM

    Hi Christopher. It's an art, not a science. Be empathetic and understand that you work for those that you manage as much as they work for you. Be proactive about providing positive and constructive feedback. Be humble and have grace. Best wishes for success in your new role!

    Matthew Pregmon A.M.ASCE
    Wheaton IL

  • 4.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 06-04-2024 10:15 AM

    Hi Christopher,

    This is a great question and I am glad to see that you are being proactive in preparing for your new role. There are a few ways to get input from staff you manage and they all start with establishing good communication as the foundation of a high functioning team. It's important to establish upfront that you like everyone are still learning to be the best you can be in your role. I think it is good to tell everyone that each members role on a team is to help make everyone around them better and do what you can to make everyone's job easier. Once you have a good rapport with everyone, then you can ask them what you can do to improve on how you are working for them and being a servant leader. You might find some of the information this website helpful Our Culture - Halff Good luck with the new role. 

    Troy Dorman P.E., M.ASCE
    Director of Water Resources
    San Antonio TX

  • 5.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 06-04-2024 10:16 AM

    Feedback should be given a few times a week. Most of the times individual contributors have no idea if what they are doing is correct or incorrect. We only assume it's correct because we haven't been corrected, so we keep on doing it. Stay even keeled whether it's positive or negative feedback. If the same mistake is made twice, that's fine. Stay even-keeled. Same mistake is made a third time, a pattern is emerging and correction needs to escalate (written up, etc.). Anytime giving feedback, write notes on the feedback, jot it down on a post-it note, and put it in they're individual file that you're maintaining because, well, you're their manager and the notes will become invaluable at end-of-year evaluations. I've had too many managers that just remember the last two months of performance during the evaluation. It will save yourself a lot of consternation and time finding information on their performance - it's all right there in their file. Below is an effective, and adult-like feedback script.

    1.) "Can I give you some feedback?"

    2.) "When you" <describe behavior>, "then" <describe result/impact>". Can you" <keep it up, change, find another way to do it>?


    Jeff Schmidt A.M.ASCE
    Environmental Engineer
    Clearfield UT

  • 6.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 06-07-2024 11:06 AM

    Thanks everyone. This all seems like good advice and I appreciate the difference perspectives. I will also make sure to review each of the links that you all shared.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 7.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 06-11-2024 10:23 AM

    What I notice about many managers is that they do not listen and observe.  As a result they do not have a clear idea of how well someone under them is performing.

    Take the time to really learn what the person's job is; whether they are doing more or less than they are supposed to do; whether they are off-loading work and taking credit for it; etc.  As a colleague, manager and employee I have come to understand that the first impression of how things operate is often somewhat misleading.  

    Maximize the good, if someone enjoys and excels at something try to have them do more of that, if they are bad at something help them get the tools to improve.

    Delegate as much as possible.

    Use the sandwich method, compliment, criticism, compliment. 

    Sarah Halsey P.E., M.ASCE
    New York NY

  • 8.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 29 days ago

    Congratulations, Christopher on your assuming the new role of a manager. Hope, it would lead to the fulfillment of your ambition and aspiration.

    • Also, as in the Leadership and Management – hope that the expectations of – to do things right – set by a leader – to do right things – would not fail you. In other words, the expectation entails that – a leader chooses the right from the wrong – while a manager manages and articulates that right scope to implement it – in a fashion that is cost-effective, timely and sound with minimal effects on the environment. As you know, this does not mean leaders and senior managers are isolated from each other – rather they belong to the same collaborative club of corporate hierarchy – infusing and sharing ideas and strategies together.

    • Here is something more. Managerial transactional duties – while opening the door to different lucrative profitable pursuits – can often overwhelm and blunten the sharpness of scientific and engineering skills. Is it good or bad? There is no singularity of answers to this question.



    Dr. Dilip K Barua, Ph.D

    Website Links and Profile

  • 9.  RE: Feedback Loops and New Managers

    Posted 27 days ago

    Hi Christopher,

    Great question!

    • Suggest you get in touch with Sarah, at least v-2-v.



    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880