Feeling Ignored at Work? How to Get More Feedback From Your Boss
Most employees would like more feedback from their boss on a regular basis. That is particularly true for millennials who often have been brought up to expect more frequent feedback than older workers. But most of us don’t really know how best to ask for feedback and then what to do with the information to improve our performance in the future.
When you get feedback, be sure to actively use it to better meet expectations and avoid any miscommunications. Implementing specific changes will improve your chances for promotion and growth. So what do you do to get the feedback you need?
Make sure you’re asking at the right time/place: It’s probably better to arrange a time for a brief meeting (ask for 15 minutes) that’s convenient for your boss. Don’t just ambush him/her in the lunch line or at a party or in the restroom (really!) or in front of others. If your boss knows ahead of time that you’ll be discussing a particular topic, he/she will be prepared with helpful feedback.
Ask specific questions: Don’t just ask “How am I doing?” Come armed with 3 or 4 specific questions about your current project or responsibility. Ask things like “What’s the one thing I could do differently that will really make a difference?” “How will you measure the success of this event?” Asking how or what questions will result in more “actionable” information than questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.”
Take Notes: Be sure to write down any input you get. If you want to be successful getting regular feedback from your boss, you need to show that you take it seriously and will make some changes. You can refer back to your notes and keep track of the progress you’ve made for future performance reviews.
Ask for examples: To get the most out of your 15 minutes, ask for some specific examples. Having your boss tell you to “be a better communicator” isn’t all that helpful. You might ask “What kinds of things would you like to see me do?” “What did you do during that last conference event that made it run so smoothly?”
Ask your team members: Getting feedback doesn’t only mean getting it from your boss. You work with your team every day as well as other departments. Asking what you can do to help them or make things easier is a good way to start. Be sure to share your ideas with them as well.
Understand the kind of feedback you want: Are you looking for input about a particular responsibility or recent event? Are you looking for more praise or is it coaching you need? Knowing what you want is going to help you when you approach your boss. There is value in asking for positive reinforcement as well as areas for growth. Ask specific questions related to the type of feedback you’re looking for.
Make it an on-going process: After a special service or event, get used to asking briefly for the boss’s impressions of how it went. Make it your priority to ask for feedback on how you and your team could do better and what went well. Asking for feedback can be intimidating, but the more often you do it, the less stressful it is. You’ll eventually get better performance reviews and adapt more quickly to changes, opening the door to more responsibility and promotions.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “no news is good news.” You may have a boss who doesn’t like conflict and is unwilling to share the bad news. That might be less stressful in the moment, but that’s not great for you when you have your next review and get blindsided. You may wonder why you haven’t been promoted or given more responsibility… you need to know “what you don’t know.” So be sure to ask.