For many of us, useful feedback about performance is only available during established activities throughout the year, such as one on ones or during performance review time. However, as employees, we never stop learning and developing and feedback for performance reviews can be untimely or very cookie-cutter. As an employee, you have a responsibility to request the feedback that will be beneficial to your productivity and professional development. But in order to do so effectively, you need to have some tactics for requesting feedback that will be genuine and helpful to your continued growth.
When you’re looking for feedback from your boss or your coworkers, the key item to remember is to be specific. Formulate questions about specific projects, tasks, or action items you’ve been a part of and ask point blank what their feedback is to your performance on the job. Narrow down your request as much as possible. For example, instead of asking a coworker, “How do you think I did on project X,” maybe you should ask, “How do you think I could have better handled that roadblock during project X?” If your boss and fellow employees have a specific question to ponder, you’re more likely to get specific feedback in return.
Be prepared to solicit feedback frequently. Because of the constantly changing landscape of the workplace, you need to ask for feedback on the same process or task frequently to fully vet it for potential flaws. What may have worked two months ago may now be obsolete, and your processes will have to account for that.
Don’t let the task or project get too far out of sight and mind before you request feedback about it. Genuine feedback is probably the easiest to garner soon after tasks or projects have been completed. Instead of asking about it four months after the fact, during review time, solicit a response from your manager and coworkers a day or two after the project’s completion and make notes to bring to your performance review. The project will be fresher in their minds and they’ll be able to give more focused feedback.
If you are able, ask for feedback from a number of different people. Ask the same questions across your team, and see if you receive varied responses. This will probably also increase your chances of getting valuable feedback instead of a few answers like “You did great!” and “I think we did well,” which you’re bound to receive.
Finally, don’t be discouraged about the avenues already set up for you to request feedback. Just use them wisely. If you have a regular one on one with your boss, don’t enter with the expectation that your manager will simply be talking at you. Enter the one on one with prepared topics of discussion, ask specific questions, and be honest about your desire for feedback in order to move forward professionally.
How do you get feedback on your work? Leave a response below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by striatic