As a coach, I often work with smart clients who feel they’re doing everything right but wonder why they aren’t advancing at work. They watch as co-workers are promoted, but they aren’t sure what they should do to be considered for more responsibility.
When I ask them what feedback they’ve gotten, more often than not they don’t have an answer for me… not because they don’t want to tell me... but because they aren’t getting feedback. Or, the feedback is vague or generally positive.
While it’s wonderful to get positive feedback, and we all have areas of growth and improvement. But between managing workloads, career development, and work-life balance, remembering to actively solicit feedback is sometimes one thing too many. And it can seem intimidating. We can be afraid that we might hear our worst beliefs about ourselves reflected back.
What’s stopping you from getting feedback? Getting into the practice of regularly asking for feedback and being open to hearing from peers, leads and stakeholders will become rewarding instead of intimidating.
Here are some tips I’ve been offering my clients to get started:
- Don’t wait around for performance reviews. Take the initiative to ask your superiors for feedback, but don’t stop there. Feedback from your peers and your employees is likely to offer you valuable insights as well.
- People may be hesitant to be honest - reassure or try “What’s one thing I can do to become 10% better” or “What things should I start, stop, continue to improve my communication with you?” People will have an easier time telling you what you can do better moving forward than what you’re doing wrong now.
- Not all questions are created equal. You might have to try a few different ways of asking. Be specific! To help people give you feedback, you might ask: what went well in your last presentation and what could you have done better?
- And don’t just ask once. Create the space for people to feel comfortable giving you feedback.
- How you listen is as important as how you ask. Stay open and curious. Listen without response and thank the person for their feedback. Consider writing it down as you receive it.
- Finally, remember that feedback will not always be an accurate reflection of who you are ... But it is always an accurate reflection of how you’re perceived.