Giving and Receiving Feedback - Top Tips for Risk Managers



Careers in Risk Management are essentially careers managing the unknown. Whether considering internal or external factors, risks are an obvious and unavoidable factor of any business. Yet, when looking beyond these continual risk hurdles, Risk Managers are tasked with another everyday challenge – managing.

Beyond simply being an aspect of any managerial role, proactive risk management is essential for an efficiently running risk department and an efficiently running business. After all, flawed risk departments can lead to business-wide disasters.

Below looks to how the best Risk Managers give feedback and how they professionally receive criticism when the tables turn.


Giving Feedback

Constructive feedback balances actionable with encouraging and sees it provided on a regular basis. Major oversights in management occur when this feedback lacks regularity and consistently. However, busy workloads see this consistent feedback lost in the weeds of the workweek.

Giving feedback requires Risk Managers to strike a balance between constructive and encouraging, a balance that is not a one-size fits all approach.  A great manager will know their employees and be able to gauge how feedback will be best received. Whilst feedback should remain honest and transparent, delivery is key.

When establishing how to best frame feedback, Harvard Business Review found that those at an entry to intermediate level prefer positively framed feedback whereas those in senior positions appreciate direct, corrective feedback.

Those looking to succeed in managing their team need to master two-way communication. Effective communicators excel at emotional exchanges and can expertly navigate situations to turn a potentially negative or heated conversation into a productive, solution-focussed exchange. This two-way communication is navigated through empathy and listening.


Receiving Feedback

For Risk Managers, feedback typically comes from C-suite and a senior management level, and unsurprisingly can be extremely intimidating. When coming from such high levels, Risk Managers can expect direct feedback without the fluff.

When in the hot seat it is natural to not agree with all of the feedback received, however arguing or instantly disregarding the feedback is a naïve approach. Rather, feedback should be heard, reflected upon and actioned.

One final consideration, Risk Managers should actively encourage feedback from within their team. Both an anonymous and non-anonymous option should be available for this feedback. The anonymous option is vital for receiving feedback without impacting relationships. When asking for feedback refer to specific events, enquire about their perception of your management style, any personal impacts and ask for their recommendations. Rather than asking for feedback in the generic sense consider asking questions such as “did you think the discussion in today’s meeting was an effective and fair?”


Whether being given or received, successful feedback balances constructive with actionable. In fact, employees across levels seek feedback with substance, seeking advice to help them grow within their team. Whether this means progressing from an entry-level to executive role or a Senior Risk Manager wanting a seat at the board table, the best risk employees crave progression. As an essential leadership skill for Risk Managers, coaching employees will see strong risk departments formed and Risk Managers ready to progress into Head of Risk and Chief Risk Officer roles.

It is obvious why feedback is essential and with these techniques in place risk professionals are best equipped to grow.


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