The Basic Principles of Asking for Feedback
1. Start with ‘safe’ and then go ‘higher-risk’ later: Instead of going straight to your boss, ask for feedback from a trusted member of your team. Work your way up to ‘higher-risk’ colleagues over time.
2. Keep it Focused: Seek feedback on a particular, recently completed project or milestone. Consider time parameters, More on this below.
3. Explain WHY you’re asking for feedback: It is always good to contextualize the request. Examples might include:
- Get better at your job
- Become a more effective leader
- Become more productive
- Help make your team more productive
4. Don’t “spring” this on people—especially the first few times.
5. Schedule a time to meet for feedback, whether in person or by phone: It gives people an opportunity to reflect before meeting with you.
Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide:
Recount a particular project you and your colleague worked on
- Ask him/her to provide two or three things related to the project that you could have done better to improve the outcome
- Listen carefully and probe for details
- Think of yourself in the third person – depersonalize yourself to make it easier to hear
Ask about two or three things that he/she felt went well with this project
- This is a nice payoff after hearing the constructive feedback
- Often people will provide these positives without you prompting them
- As before, listen carefully for clues and probe for details
- Let them know this is new for you and your truly appreciate their thoughts
The whole exercise should take no more than 15 minutes, so give it a try this week and then let me know how it goes.