Do you ask for feedback?

For some people this may sound like a rhetorical question, of course, you do! But for many others, this is not as common-sense as it may seem. So, stop reading for a minute and ask yourself, do you really ask for feedback after giving a presentation or talk, after submitting a project, after organizing a training, after doing feedback sessions with your team? And we’re not referring here to the typical feedback form where you ask participants to rate your talk from 1-5. We mean real, concrete, juicy feedback.

Most of us when talking about feedback focus on giving feedback to others but we often forget about getting useful feedback for ourselves. It turns out that the best leaders are actually stars in attracting useful feedback after everything they do. The best speakers will always ask for feedback after giving a talk somewhere, no matter how famous public speakers they are or how many times they have done it.  Really knowing what other people think about how you work can be truly life-changing. Early on in your career, it can be the most powerful tool you have to get promoted faster and be the kind of person people want in their team. But no matter how senior you get; feedback is the key to being the type of leader people want to work with or get inspired by. Some HR specialists even go so far as saying that not getting useful feedback can slowly kill your career. Think about it, we all have blind spots and other people do see our blind spots. By proactively going after info about these blind spots, you are already stepping way ahead of other professionals not thinking about useful feedback.

So, instead of only focusing on giving feedback to your team or peers, try to make it a habit to ask for useful feedback as well as to become a true feedback magnet. To do so, you will need to make sure that you always have an open attitude to feedback. You know, sometimes it can feel a little uncomfortable or even annoying to be told something you might not like, and we get defensive or closed. This is all about getting better as a leader so you need to accept that it will involve hearing things you might not like.

However, it is not just about having an open attitude towards feedback, you need to really go after it and make sure you set the right scene for getting feedback. One tactic for this is to ask the people you want feedback from specific, narrow questions instead of the typical “do you have any feedback for me?”. For example, “how could I have made this project 20% better?” Of course, to keep getting useful feedback, you also need to show your team and the people giving you feedback that you are acting on the feedback and are improving because of it.

Want to give it a go? 

Your challenge for next week, ask 3 people for real, specific feedback! 

Think about who to ask for which project or activity right now!

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