We’ve talked about the “other F words” before. When someone says “feedback” in the workplace, alarm bells often go off in people’s heads. Getting comfortable with asking for feedback takes practice. People might struggle to proactively ask for professional feedback because many organizations only prompt them to do it once a year or even worse, not at all.
Here are some tips to share with your employees to get them more comfortable soliciting feedback from their peers and managers.
Set recurring reminders on your calendar – and make them frequent. You might feel strange telling yourself to open yourself up to criticism but you’ll soon realize that feedback – when given properly – isn’t a dig session. It’s an opportunity to improve performance for both the asker and the giver. Asking more frequently is also like building a muscle. It might be painful at first, but as it becomes part of your routine it’s becomes more natural.
Ease Into It.
Diving into the deep end with soliciting feedback is not for everyone. If you’re feeling apprehensive, start by asking a peer or manager with whom you have a good working relationship. It’s not stacking the deck with people who are only going to sing your praises; it’s getting you comfortable with the act of actually asking. The next time around, get out of your comfort zone, which leads to the next tip….
Choose the Right People.
Have conversations with people who are actually in a position to evaluate your work. Because of the cross-functional and interdepartmental collaboration that’s the norm in today’s workplaces, people outside your team are sometimes even better equipped to give you meaningful advice. At the same time, it shows you take your work seriously and value outside opinions, which could position you as forward thinking and proactive in your own development.
Open-ended questions can sometimes open the floodgates for some unnecessary commentary outside the feedback giver’s scope of expertise. (Hey, it’s not just hard to ask for feedback, it’s hard to give it as well.) Beforehand, think of the projects or work you’ve done with the person and then tailor your questions to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
These tips can help employees feel less stress and more ease when requesting feedback from one another, their managers and leadership. Do you have the mechanisms in place for employees to regularly solicit and give feedback to one another? If not, you can learn more about how Kazoo helps companies create a culture where ongoing feedback is the norm.