These recent research findings should come as no surprise: Close to 60 percent of employees report that they’d like to have feedback from their bosses on a weekly or even daily basis. And for those under the age of 30, this number jumps to 72 percent.
Seriously, who wouldn’t want feedback to make sure they’re doing a good job? The real question is: How do you ask for it? Those who do it effectively end up being top performers in their fields. But, what’s the best way to go about it?
Timing Is Everything
Ask for feedback from your supervisor at the right time – and in the right place.
- Make it official. Set up a meeting with your manager and let them know the reason for it. Email them ahead of time and note you want to make sure you’re meeting expectations and are looking for ways to improve. Ask for a reasonable amount of time: 15 to 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb.
- Don’t just impulsively bring it up. Or unexpectedly interrupt your boss. Or put them on the spot in front of others. If they don’t reply to your meeting request, send a follow-up message a few days later. Your initial ask may have inadvertently fallen through the cracks.
Have an Agenda
Plan ahead, so your meeting is well structured. (Bonus: This is a great way to remind your manager about your organizational strengths!)
- Limit the conversation to three or four specific areas; for instance, a critique of your recent work, your performance on current projects, or other opportunities for you to expand your skills or enhance your contribution.
- Make your inquiry clear and specific. Focus on the areas where you need the most management input.
Take notes during the meeting so you can remember all the important points and have follow-up documentation. Make it an active listening session.
- Focus on accurately transcribing your manager’s comments. Shortly afterwards, while it’s still fresh in your mind, send a follow-up email. Outline the steps you plan to take to enhance your performance. Keep it concise – and strictly between the two of you. Don’t copy anyone else, unless your manager specifically asks you to.
Turn Feedback into Action
Set up a timeline to track your improvement. Then, follow it.
- Consciously implement the actions you targeted during your feedback meeting. After the time you had allotted yourself for completion, send your boss another update, outlining your progress.
Make It Ongoing
Feedback must be an ongoing process. More and more companies are abandoning the old-school six-month or annual performance review in favor of a more fluid system.
- Dialogue with your boss as often as needed, as long as you’re not “meeting just to meet.” Whether it results in praise or in constructive criticism, timely feedback should become ingrained in your ongoing interactions with your manager.
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