Asking for feedback

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The weekly emails (sign up here) have been recently focusing on feedback and the importance of getting feedback in order to improve. If you accept that you need feedback to grow, learn and be better tomorrow than yesterday, asking for feedback is key! As a leader asking for feedback demonstrates you understand it's worth and value and that you are open to receiving it - which in turn will then set the expectation and example for when you have to give feedback. This week I wanted to dig into how to ask for that all important feedback. I've been trying different ways of late and watching others who ask for feedback. So far I'm having limited success, so as always this email is as much for me as is it for you. 

Kim Scott in her book Radical Candor talks about how to establish the trust and relationship with your team for them to feel safe to give you feedback. The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle also describes the importance of the psychological safety that is required for people to feel able to give you feedback.  Insight by Tasha Eurich sees feedback as integral to increasing awareness of ourselves and that a leader models the behaviour to seek and receive feedback. 

Kim Scott has list of 11 tips to help you get the feedback from your team that you need to grow and get better at your job. I'm pulling out just two of them for you here to get you started. 

Have a go to question

What phrase or question can you use that opens the floor for someone to give you some feedback. I work with many wonderful and smart people - one of them always asks in a follow up email about a presentation or session she gives, how they could be better/improve. The question needs to be meaningful for you and your team and fit with you as a person so it sounds natural. 
Some suggestions to give you an idea:

  • How can I support you on this project?
  • What advice can you give me?
  • What is the one thing I can do for you to do your job better?

If you want to look at this more - check out this course . Try a few out this week and see what works for you. 

Embrace the discomfort

That moment of silence after you've asked for the feedback - after the quick response of 'everything is fine' just wait, don't say anything, sit with the silence and discomfort. Kim Scott encourages you to count to 7. Maybe a follow up question - 'I know there was something I could have done better…'

In many of the books and articles. have read on this topic feedback is described as a gift. I know that giving and receiving feedback makes many people uncomfortable. By asking for feedback you are leading by example and establishing the culture that feedback on how you are doing is important, OK and yes a gift. You need to learn how to ask for it, so that you get what you really need to keep growing and learning in your job.