Do you ever wonder how you’re doing in your job? What are you good at? What do you need to work on? When was the last time you had a feedback session?
Feedback is a great way to grow your career. Being able to receive feedback constructively and accept it is essential to your overall development. It signals to your manager that you are serious about your job, your development and you are focused on the next step in your career.
When we talk about feedback, we tend not to look at it from the giver’s perspective. Giving feedback is really daunting, no one can predict another person’s reactions. So let’s look at both sides of a feedback session.
Let’s look at it from the manager’s point of view first.
Often, managers don’t offer feedback to their teams for many reasons; they could be afraid of potential reactions, defensive responses or they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
Have you ever been asked by your significant other what you think of their new dress, shirt, jeans or a new top? You answer “You look lovely” even though you are hoping that they will spill something on it before they leave the house. You don’t want to hurt their feelings or start an argument. Same goes for a manager giving negative feedback. They don’t want to hurt their employee’s feelings or start an argument.
If you are a manager giving negative feedback, be prepared with notes, dates, actual examples and what you would like to happen in the future. Be clear. Make sure your employee understands what you are asking of them.
Not all feedback is negative. It can be exciting to tell someone how well they are doing in their job, what you like about them as an employee and how much value they bring to the team. This is a great way to boost morale. Maybe there are a few things that they could improve on. By showing them that you have noticed how well they are doing their job, you will give them a big boost and they will feel appreciated.
Before you and your employee finish the feedback session, ask them for a recap or what they are taking away from the session. Give them an opportunity to speak, offer their thoughts and make sure that they understand all the feedback.
Now, let’s look at it from the employee point of view
Before asking your manager for feedback, take a few minutes to answer these questions:
- Why do you want feedback?
- What are you hoping the feedback will give you?
- Have you done a quick review of your performance?
- Are you able to put aside personal responses so that you can listen to the feedback and advise without an emotional response?
The whole purpose of your feedback session is to get an understanding of what you do well, what you could do better and what you need to work on. It’s an opportunity to find out what you need to focus on to get to the next level in your career.
Here are 6 steps to receiving feedback:
- Listen to what is being said to you. Take notes if you have to.
- Stay objective, keep your emotions out of it.
- Acknowledge what is being said.
- If you don’t understand some feedback ask your manager to clarify.
- Apologise if you need to. Otherwise be humble.
- Finish the session by thanking them for their honesty and time. A follow-up email outlining the key actions or takeaways is always appreciated.
If you are on the receiving end of some negative feedback, avoid offering conditional apologies, “I’m sorry, but…” is not going to help you here. Acknowledge any wrongdoing, if you need to apologise keep it short, specific and sincere.
If you are receiving positive feedback then GO YOU! Congratulations. Don’t let your ego get in the way, be humble and thank your manager. And ask for some learning points or things that you need to work on.
Feedback will give you all the tools to develop your skills further. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you don’t want to ask your manager first, maybe ask a colleague for their thoughts. You might be surprised by what they tell you.