Want to be better at your job? Don’t wait for formal performance reviews to get the feedback you need

Getting good feedback from relevant people can be very useful.

It can be especially important when it comes to the workplace, as feedback can help you grow and thrive in your field, increasing your value to employers.

Unfortunately, however, most people do not give and receive feedback often enough. Often it might be limited to just an annual evaluation with your boss.

There are several reasons for this lack of feedback/communication between employees and managers, but usually it’s because people don’t know how to ask for it, when to ask for it, or how to interpret it when they receive it.

Typically people avoid soliciting feedback either out of fear of a negative response or to avoid coming on too strong. However, in the business world, establishing a strong connection and feedback loop, between you and your boss, is far more important than personal insecurities.

According to the Ed Batista, an instructor at Stanford Business School, the best way to get used to soliciting feedback is to do it more often. The fear of receiving a negative response reduces the more you seek it out, and ultimately critical feedback is more useful than praise. The reason for this is that negative feedback shows you how to improve and allows you to grow, thus making yourself much more valuable in the long term.

Getting good feedback more often will increase your satisfaction at work, make you more productive and also lead to better performance reviews.

So ask away.

Here are a few pointers to help you get the right kind of feedback often.

  • Good feedback can come from sources other than your boss. Your clients and co-workers can provide vital inputs as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for it casually. Assessments don’t always have to be a formal meeting between manager and employee; it can be a quick conversation after a presentation or in passing.
  • What you also want to keep in mind when soliciting feedback is to ask the right questions. Instead of a generic question: “Do you have any notes/feedback for me?” phrase it to have a particular response, such as “What’s one thing you noticed I could improve for next time?” or “What’s the most important thing I could do differently the next time?” The more you tailor your questions, the better and more targeted your response. So think about what kind of feedback you want before you ask.
  • Finally, don’t hold back on asking questions if you are on a virtual team. Discussing work and projects online can, unfortunately, remove the human connection, which can set back productivity. If you are on a virtual team, don’t rely only email to discuss issues and solutions, but instead pick up the phone. Many nuances and language can be misinterpreted in email. Talking with people can have a more positive effect than email.

In short, the best way to solicit more feedback is to ask for it more frequently and specifically, from as many people as possible, whenever you can. Also, you should also be open to giving feedback to your boss or co-workers whenever possible to create an open network of collaboration and support. The key to any relationship, working or otherwise, is open and honest communication.

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