Feedback is the only way to truly know what you’re doing right at work and what you need to improve. But it can also feel scary, because no one likes to hear bad news. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to initiate an honest and constructive feedback session that ultimately helps your career. Here are the best ways to ask for feedback.
Request a Meeting
This can be the easiest and least threatening way to gain valuable feedback. Simply ask your boss if it’s possible to check in once a week or once a month. This will give both you and your manager time to gather your thoughts. Prepare for the meeting by finding documentation of your recent accomplishments and putting together a list of questions to ask.
Make It Informal
If you want feedback on something specific, like a meeting you just led or a project you recently submitted, there’s no need for a formal meeting. As long as you have a good relationship with your boss, it’s okay to simply ask, “How did I do? Anything you think I should have done differently?”
Receive Feedback Gracefully
No one likes to give their opinions to someone who always shoots them down. When your boss does take the time to give you feedback, listen carefully and take it all in. Listen for overall themes, and ask clarifying follow-up questions.
At the same time, it’s important to advocate for yourself. Managers aren’t on the floor every day, so it’s easy for them to miss things. If there’s something in the feedback that strikes you as inaccurate, be sure to address it. Just be sure to remain professional and gracious in both your words and your tone.
Feedback in the workplace should not be a one-way street. As an employee, you have a valuable perspective that can help your boss make the best business decisions. It’s easier to ask for feedback once you have an open line of regular communication with your boss, so don’t be afraid to make the first move.
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