Feedback: How Open Are You?

Asking others for feedback is one of the easiest ways to immediately improve your performance and happiness on the job.  Simply ask those you work most closely with, “How am I doing?” and you’ll gain insight into steps you could be taking right now to work smarter not harder.  

Why More People Don’t Ask for Feedback

What if you hear from others that you’re not doing such a great job? What if you are asked to change the way you do things?  What if you have to own up to your weaknesses in front of others?  What if asking the question highlights for your boss (or staff) that you’re not really that useful afterall?

You’re Better Off Knowing 

The truth is, you’re better off knowing what your boss, coworkers and subordinates think of your performance even if you don’t like the answers.  Why?  Because what you don’t know can hurt you.  I worked with one executive who’s “direct” style at a new employer was taken as aggressiveness by the staff.  He thought his team was working well.  So he was shocked that HR had received several complaints.  With coaching (and feedback), this executive was able to adjust his communication style to one his staff could better appreciate and immediately his working relationships improved.

An Easy Formula For Asking For Feedback

Stop. Start. Continue.  Ask for one item you might start doing, another you might stop doing and another you might continue doing when it comes to working together.  We often used this format when I was a management consultant at Arthur Andersen.  It was very effective in getting to specific items to improve and further build our client relationships as well as deliver quality work to them.

Don’t let fear keep you from asking for feedback.  “How am I doing?” is a simple yet powerful question that can improve the quality of all of your relationships, not just work-related ones.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill

(Photo courtesy of Flikr user Karl Horton.)

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