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If you’re frustrated because people are not giving you feedback/feedforward, try these tips …
Encourage a feedback culture with colleagues and friends through habits and rituals. Ask “What went well?” “What could have gone better?” "What's one thing I could do, in your opinion, to improve my work?"
Ask right away. Immediacy will ensure that you get the most accurate picture of your performance.
Seek opportunities to give feedback on a variety of topics to support others. Consider wider projects, client approaches, new initiatives, or people processes. Asking for feedback about your role in return.
Ask people to rate aspects of your role with a 1-10 scale, ask “what could I do to make that a 10?”
Self-reflect and identify where you know you’re struggling or feel you could do better but don’t know how. Share this with someone and ask for their input.
If your manager isn’t forthcoming with feedback/feedforward arrange a meeting with this as the only topic. Make it clear you’re looking for ways to improve your performance. Schedule a follow-up meeting to keep the conversation going.
Carry out a 360 feedback survey and work through the results with a Coach.
The most obvious person to ask for feedback is your manager. However, they're not the only person who can give you useful feedback. Your colleagues, clients, and people in different departments will likely have some great insights and will probably notice things your manager might overlook.
Overcoming a Fear of Feedback
Asking for feedback can be a bit intimidating because you're opening yourself up to possible criticism. Cultivating a positive mindset is key to overcoming the fear of feedback. It’s important to remember that no one is perfect, everyone has and will make mistakes, and there's always room for improvement. In this respect, you're the same as everyone else in your organisation. It takes courage to admit that you're not perfect. So, when you ask for feedback, you've already put yourself a step above the majority who don't.
Insecurities about not being good enough can make the world a dark and scary place. If you’re someone who becomes defensive quickly be careful not to focus on the negative feelings and avoid blaming the person giving the feedback. If you go down the negative path it’s easy to rationalise and reject the ‘criticism’ deciding that the person who said it was a villain in the story with ulterior motives.
People who behave in this way end up in a bind because they often can’t tell the difference between someone trying to hurt them, and someone trying to help by giving constructive feedback. To become the best you can be, you must step back, think about your emotional reactions, and recognise that, while they are completely normal human reactions, you can't let them hold you back.
Look at what feels like criticism objectively and decide if it is helpful or not. Discard what isn’t, then accept and begin moving forward with what is.
Work on building your confidence up and believing in yourself enough to ask for help from friends and colleagues.
When we receive critical feedback. Shock, anger, and rejecting criticism are natural ways we try to protect ourselves. But to be the best you can be, you must recognize and take control of your emotions, be confident enough to accept feedback, and ask for help.
“Mistakes should be examined, learned from, and discarded; not dwelled upon and stored.” Tim Fargo
When you find it difficult to receive feedback or feedforward…
Remember that we’re all learners, wherever we are in our careers. The person giving you feedback might not choose the right approach and may very well bumble their words or struggle to communicate what they want to share with you. Show compassion and be prepared to forgive and move forward if the delivery isn’t perfect.
Really listen to what’s said and absorb what has been shared before you respond. Repeat what has been said in your own words to make sure you heard and understood correctly. Ask for clarification if needed, and suggestions to improve.
If you don’t completely agree, that’s OK, but refrain from focusing on what you don’t agree with and be curious about what might be true, useful, and valuable.
Avoid becoming defensive or responding with anger Resist the urge to defend your work or make excuses, this is not the time. Don’t take feedback too personally. If delivered appropriately, feedback should be about your performance, not about you as a person, so don’t allow emotions to be part of your reaction.
General questions such as "How am I doing?" will most likely receive general answers. You'll get better feedback by asking specific questions such as "Have my weekly reports been as thorough as you want them to be?” or "How could I improve (insert skill or task)?
Remember that most people are trying to help when they offer feedback, they want you to succeed. Once you understand the feedback, turn your focus to how you can continue acting on any positive feedforward and ways you can improve from any negative feedback.
Don’t forget to thank the person for taking the time to help you improve. This shows them you are interested in doing the best job possible. If you feel the feedback/forward could have been delivered better, been more specific, or more helpful, let the person know so that they can improve as well.
We all need internal and external feedback to improve, but you may have to actively seek it out from time to time.
Solicit feedback regularly. Every exchange of feedback, whether you are on the giving or receiving end, is an opportunity to be a better human, employee, manager, or leader.
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