John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
Some people just do not give feedback on your work. Maybe they are not good at it. Maybe they are not comfortable with it. Maybe they are not comfortable at it because they are not good at it.
If you have a boss like this, and you want the feedback, you may have to go after it.
You need regular, honest feedback from your boss and your co-workers. You need straight talk from them about your relative strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not getting it, your development, your success and your ultimate satisfaction may be at risk.
If it’s become apparent to you that waiting around for the feedback isn’t producing the result you want, maybe you’ll want to go into action. Getting useful feedback isn’t as simple as it might look, however. A little bit of planning can mean a big difference in the quality of the feedback. Ask yourself:
What is it you want feedback about? Your skill? Behavior? Reputation? The more specific you are with your request, the more focused – and useful – the response.
Who do you want to ask? Depending on your decision about what you want, figure out who can give you the most balanced and valuable input.
Where and when do you want this to happen? Set up a meeting just for this purpose. Pick an appropriate place (probably not the hallway, or a crowded and noisy sports bar) and allow enough time. When you invite your feedback provider, give him/her some idea what you’re hoping for. Most people are responsive to a genuine request for assistance, and would appreciate being able to pull some thoughts together for your benefit.
How will you ask? Prepare, or even practice, asking for input. Focus your feedback questions in specific areas where you can make best use of the response. For example, “What’s the one thing I could do more of, less of, or continue doing, to be more effective?” Or, “How can I better prepare myself to get more actively involved in marketing and business development?”
Once you have your feedback, you must be prepared to act on it. It’s normal to get defensive when you receive tough feedback. Almost everyone does. Even if you don’t like what you’ve heard, look for something in there that you can work on.
Make sure you thank your feedback provider in person, in a note or with a voice mail. The best way to show your thanks, of course, is to act on the feedback. Use it to spark a change you want to make. Remember to ask people whether they’ve see you change.
Developing yourself by using this feedback is really a process, not an event. That means you’ll be seeking feedback forever (or at least until you’re perfect).