Jennie Marshall | 9 March 2016
In today's complex and competitive world, it's more important than ever to step up to being the best you can be.
In order to be your best, you first need to be aware of your own strengths, opportunities, and blind spots.
Investing the time to be aware better equips you to navigate your professional and personal life. 'How do others see my leadership?' 'What can people tell me about my performance?'
Asking for feedback lets you know how you're doing.
But what if we took a leap of courage and actually asked for feedback regularly.
Being your best takes discipline, focus, and continuous improvement. Don't wait for feedback - go after it.
Tips for seeking feedback
So how can we get feedback to help us be more effective?
Identify a development goal
Be sure you are clear on your developmental goals. Think about messages you have heard from those who know you well. Go back to past performance reviews and identify any patterns or themes. Take a look at your most recent performance discussion. Identify one or two specific behaviours which, if you were to focus on, would have a considerable impact on your performance.
Decide who you will ask
Ask someone who is credible, will be honest with you and has the opportunities to observe you. Identify individuals who have an interest in your effectiveness. Consider someone who will challenge your perspective. It could be your immediate boss, another leader, or a colleague within the team or in another group. As tempting as it is, asking your friends and people you get along with doesn’t always give you a holistic perspective. Be brave – ask the people you don’t get along with as well!
Plan on timing
Decide how often you will ask for feedback from people. Once a person knows you are looking for feedback, you will find that the person will be ready to share their perceptions with you. The more often you receive feedback, the greater the opportunity to put your goals into action.
Ask for specific feedback
Even though you may have asked a person for feedback, remember that it's not always easy to give it. Help the person out so it is safe for them to give it to you and so it is specific enough for you to use it. Ask for feedback using this simple framework:
b. What did you observe? What behaviours, words, non-verbal cues need to be changed or improved? What worked?
c. What was the impact? What were the consequences of a specific behaviour? What impact did it have on other people? Was it effective or ineffective?
Remind yourself how to behave when receiving feedback
- Pay attention to non-verbal responses
- Ask clarifying questions
- Ask for specifics, if they aren't given
- Paraphrase what's been said
- Thank the person for feedback
- Try to explain or justify your behaviour
- Be defensive
- Worry about pauses or silent moments
- Ask the person to defend the feedback
Document: Jot down the comments.
Reflect: Allow yourself time to reflect on the feedback. Not all feedback is useful. And significant impact sometimes comes from unpredictable sources.
Evaluate: Consider the accuracy and the source: who is giving the feedback? Do you value his or her perspective, even if it is hard to hear? Was it valuable? Will it be helpful to you? Is it important? Will you act upon this particular feedback? What will you do with it?
Keep in mind this important factor about feedback: it is one person's perspective. So it's up to you to consider it thoughtfully. Compare it to feedback you receive from others, and see if there are common messages. Develop ideas about what you want to do differently or decide if you'll do nothing at all.
Remember, we need feedback in order to grow as people, especially at work.
Follow these strategies and you'll be well on your way to bravely seek feedback.
If you are looking to update your skills, QA offer a wide range of training courses to help you develop professionally.
If you're looking to take the next step in your lifelong learning journey, take a look at our Business Skills training courses including Business Relationships and Personal Effectiveness training.