How To Ask For Feedback
Feedback can often have negative connotations associated with it. While getting unplanned feedback can sometimes be stressful, actively seeking constructive feedback the right way can help improve your overall career development. Also often stopping those unplanned awkward feedback sessions before they happen!
In a survey conducted by PwC, they revealed that 60% of polled employees said they would like feedback from their bosses on a daily or weekly basis. While that number jumped up to 72% for those under the age of 30. So it’s very clear that feedback is overwhelmingly what employees want.
While in a perfect world we’d all get proactive feedback given to us on a daily or weekly basis by our bosses, it’s not always a reality for many teams or companies. So if you’re looking to help improve your own development and seek out the best ways to grow and learn, here’s our 6 top tips on how to ask for feedback at work.
Timing is everything when asking for feedback. Make a decision on a definitive time and date that’s not too busy in your organisation and put a meeting in the calendar of the person you’re asking feedback from.
If you’ve got a big project or tight deadline coming up, perhaps wait to book it after completion so neither of you are distracted. When possible, be sure to book it either as a video call or in person so there’s no chances of answers being misconstrued. Emails or texts can often come across not as intended and it’s better to avoid any chance of misunderstandings.
Find the right person
While this could be your direct boss, it can often be valuable to speak to other teams you’ve worked with on projects, peers, higher-up managers or others within your organisation whose careers you admire. Everybody has different perspectives and career goals and the more feedback, the better chance you have to get honest and impactful critiques.
You should instinctively have some clue on where and how you can improve career wise. It’s no use going into a feedback session with no goals or specific direction, so be sure to go in with a plan, or at least some generic questions to guide the conversation.
Depending on the type of feedback you’re hoping to receive, be more creative than just saying ‘Can I please have some feedback?’ and structure the conversation to allow for answers to the questions you have. A good example question to ask is ‘What is one thing I could improve on …’ and so on.
Don’t Take It Personally
While naturally feedback isn’t always positive, don’t ever look at it as a personal attack. Feedback is a gift and opportunity to grow as a person. If somebody is taking the time to provide you with feedback, they will generally care about you and want to genuinely help with your career path. Think of it like having something stuck in your teeth, you’re always glad somebody points it out and gives you the chance to fix it, even if it’s a little embarrassing or awkward for the first few minutes after.
If you go out of your way to seek feedback and then do nothing with it, it’s unlikely the person will want to share feedback with you again in the future. Listen and learn to the feedback you’re receiving and make your own actionable goals working towards them.
If you’re not sure how to action something, maybe clarify with the person how they’d address the area themselves and ask for further recommendations on what they think would be the best approach.
People change constantly and asking for feedback just once will hardly help you the rest of your career. Make sure you set aside time for your own professional development regularly and make time to chat with anybody who can help you grow through the sharing of feedback.
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