Have you ever asked for feedback… only to not get any at all? Or, if you do get feedback, it’s not specific enough or helpful enough for you to actually do something with.
Let me tell you a little secret….
The quality in which you ask for your feedback will dictate the quality of which you receive in return.
If you’ve ever been in this situation, the latest episode of Eating your Cake too podcast is for you! You can listen in full HERE.
Or, if reading is more your jam, we’ve given you an express blog post below that details four key tips for you to consider when asking for feedback that is actually helpful.
4 Key Tips When Asking for Feedback (That’s Actually Helpful!)
Asking for feedback is a critical part to any growth journey. Asking for feedback allows you to broaden your perspective, it gives you insight to your strengths that you might not have even been aware of, as well as any blind spots, or areas for opportunity that you might want to start focusing your energy into. Seeking regular feedback allows you to step into the driver’s seat of your own career and accelerate your growth.
But, how do you get feedback that you can actually use? Below, I share 4 top tips to support you to start getting the feedback you need to excel in your career.
1. Ask regularly and ask it in real time.
Don’t make asking for feedback into some type of big, drawn out “event” that you feel like you have to work yourself up for. If you only do it once or twice a year, it's natural that you’ll feel anxious about it. Plus, if you wait to ask for feedback – for example, if you do something today but only ask for feedback four months later – the feedback you get probably won’t be applicable to your situation anymore. So, what can you do instead? Ask consistently and ask it in real time.
If you ask for feedback regularly, and in real time (when I say real time, I mean shortly after an event that you want feedback on), it will still be fresh in people’s minds and you’ll get feedback that you can actually use.
2. Keep it informal.
You don’t need to make it bigger than it needs to be. You don’t need to wait until the formal annual review rolls around; you can ask for feedback informally, without the need for a dedicated one-on-one catch up with your manager. You can ask for feedback whether you’re on a walk together or grabbing coffee after a meeting; you don’t need to make it bigger than it needs to be, you can just do it as part and parcel of the way you operate.
3. Widen your lens.
When it comes to asking for feedback, it’s tempting to think that the only person we can ask for feedback from is our manager. After all, they’re the ones in charge of our promotions, our performance reviews, and potentially the opportunities we do or don’t get. So yes, asking for feedback from your manager is absolutely important. With that said, they are NOT the only ones you can ask for feedback from. Widen your lens on who you’re asking for feedback from. But, be specific and intentional about who you’re asking. Make sure that they’re people who actually engage with you regularly, people who see your work, people who are in meetings with you, people who you do work with – these are the people who can really provide you with real, tangible feedback.
4. Ask skillfully with open questions.
An “open question” refers to questions that require a deeper response than just a yes or no answer. Typically, open questions start with what, how, or when. So, be purposeful with the way that you ask for feedback through open questioning. This will give you a far greater chance of receiving detailed feedback that’s useful and helpful.
When it comes to asking, there are 4 key ways that you can ask for feedback skillfully. Centered around 4 key areas, including: specific events, worrisome patterns you may have, personal impact you want to understand more about, and recommendations from others – how do you use open questions centered around these opportunities to get you constructive, specific and insightful feedback?
How much time do you spend crafting effective questions when asking for feedback from others? How well do you phrase your questions? What do you ask? Are you being specific? Remember: If you don’t communicate your question well, and if you’re not being specific in what you’re looking for, you’re not making it easy for people to give you feedback in return. When this happens, you’re probably not going to get anything that's that helpful for you to drive change, and will then likely walk away thinking that asking for feedback is a waste of time. The opportunity for growth starts and ends with you.
The Bottom Line
Asking for feedback can feel scary and sometimes a little daunting, but even the most negative feedback can alter the course of your career (and life!) and really help you accelerate your growth and potential inside an organisation.
Do you or your organisation need help with elevating the capability of the feedback conversations in your company? Reach out to me and let’s see if one of my practical, engaging and insightful workshops would be a good fit for your company learning needs. Download my workshop pack HERE.
For more tips on how to ask for feedback that’s actually helpful – and to discover ways that you can ask for feedback skillfully – listen to the full podcast here!