Speaking as a Brit, I’m acutely aware that the very word ‘feedback’ can make the toes curl. Those from other countries and cultures may indeed smile. Here we can talk a good game but, when it comes to the crunch, I suspect many people would rather do public speaking than give or get feedback on how they’re doing. And speaking as the author of ‘The Feedback book’ I need to add an admonition: we really need to get over ourselves here.
Little and often is good with feedback, whether you are the giver or receiver (and if you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know my views on ‘feedback sandwiches’ to use the polite term: intelligent people don’t need to be fed them).
What you learn from feedback could make the difference between staying stuck and getting promoted. So how to go about it?
First of all, brainstorm a list of people to ask for feedback. Make sure you have a mix of people from other departments as well as colleagues from your own team, and a good mix of representatives from different levels of the organisational hierarchy. If you can, add some people from beyond the organisation to your list. They may be clients or suppliers. Stuck for ideas? Try this A-Z of ideas from The Feedback Book’s blog – so no excuses!
Now contact them to let them know you’d really value some feedback. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, you simply want to hear their answers to a couple of questions. Use the medium that works for your organisation: you may want to set the discussion up with an e-mail, meeting request, phone call or a conversation in the kitchen. The feedback itself really needn’t be complicated, and certainly need not take long. Two questions to ask of your feedback giver:
What do you think I do well?
What could I do better or differently?
Another question, if appropriate, is,
What advice can you give to someone at this stage in my career?
The answers may surprise you, but be sure you note them accurately, and thank your feedback givers. Good feedback is truly a gift that benefits the recipient more than the giver. How will you use the gifts you receive to get promoted?
You may find this post useful: ‘4 excuses for dodging feedback – and what to do instead’