Are you clear on what success looks like in your role? Are you confident you are meeting your team and manager’s expectations? Does your manager take the time to invest in your growth by sharing regular, in the moment feedback? Does your manager host weekly check-in’s to see how he/she can support you in reaching your fullest potential? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you are not alone. It is very common for managers to get caught up in their busy days and neglect the growth and development of their direct reports.
As humans, we have an instinctual need to know how we are perceived and how we can improve. We experience this in our personal and professional life. Everyone needs feedback on a regular basis to be happy and satisfied with their job. This clarification supports confidence and job satisfaction, which triggers happiness and growth. Although it is a key responsibility of a manager to provide their direct reports with consistent and constructive feedback, sometimes that falls by the wayside when things get busy. When you start to feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time, that’s exactly when crucial conversations need to take place.
That’s where YOU come in.
If you are not getting the feedback you need, it’s your job to ask for feedback.
Manager’s desks tend to get side-tracked with their juggling acts, so it’s imperative that you ASK for the necessary feedback. Don’t put your success in the hands of someone else. Take control of your own growth and make it your JOB to get the feedback you need. This mindset is the key to growth and job satisfaction, as Sheila Heen stated in her book Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well. Research shows that, “People who go out and solicit feedback report higher job satisfaction. They adapt more quickly to new roles, get higher performance reviews and show others they are committed to doing a good job”.
How can you solicit the feedback you need?
First, you must take a step back and confirm you understand what success looks like in your role. Ask your manager to list out the key metrics to achieve success in your role. Second, ask your Manager to identify his/her expectations of you in your role (ie list types of expectations – behavioral).
Ask for specific feedback in real time.
Ask for feedback sooner rather than later. Immediately following the completion of a project or key task, ask for direct feedback. You can craft generic questions to use for all conversations so you get the direct feedback you need in a timely manner. For example, “On a scale of 1-5, how do you feel I performed in my last project? What could I have done differently to improve for next time? Do you have specific feedback on something that could have a been better?” Press for specific examples.
Accept praise, but press for constructive feedback.
Some managers tend to only give positive, general feedback. For example, “You did an awesome job.” “I received great feedback from the Executive Team on your report.” Be transparent with your manager that you appreciate the positive feedback, but you would appreciate any direct, specific and constructive feedback. Here are a few examples of what direct versus vague feedback looks like.
Manager’s descriptive, but vague feedback: “You did an outstanding job on your Sales Presentation, and I really appreciated how you got to the point quickly on our last point.”
An example of direct and specific feedback: “You did an outstanding job on your Sales Presentation. I loved how you got to the point quickly on your last topic about ‘closing the deal’. If you did that with all your main points I think you could have shortened it by 20 mins and had more time for questions.”
See how the latter feedback shared specifics that were missing from the initial feedback?
Hold yourself accountable.
If you are not getting feedback on a regular basis, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Regardless of your tenure or title, constructive feedback helps you grow, develop, and be the best you can be.
But not all feedback is created equal. In order to get the right feedback, you have to ask the right questions. Don’t hesitate to ask. Even though it’s difficult to hear, it’s going to help you in the long run. Plus, if you ask, you’ll be mentally prepared, which is better than having it sprung on you – right?
Initiate a conversation about feedback if your manager isn’t fulfilling their role.
By Mary Henderson, Director of People Operations at Premier Talent Partners