Are you curious about how your presentation went? Do you sometimes have doubts about your own performance? Do you not understand why you were rejected during an job application? Are you curious how that one conversation could have gone better? It’s time to ask for feedback!
But asking for feedback can sometimes be experienced as exciting. How are you clear enough? What kind of questions can you ask? And, what do you ultimately want to get out of it? By asking the right questions, you can come to interesting insights about your personal development and areas for improvement. This is valuable to grow.
There are various rules, methods and techniques when it comes to asking for feedback. In the end it is about the giver and receiver feeling comfortable and safe with this. Daring to ask for feedback starts with a safe culture in the organization, this is the basis.
1. Don’t be scared
Management experts advised Intermediair to make it easier to ask for feedback. One of these tips: don’t be afraid. A safe culture is key to ask for feedback.
As a manager, Dorien Lameris consciously chooses to be fairly vulnerable in order to get the best out of herself, but also of her employees. “From the moment I became manager, I chose to ask for feedback at set times. Most of the time I have good insight in my learning points, but sometimes I get feedback with which I can experience more growth as a manager. I want to create an atmosphere where it is normal to be vulnerable, to approach each other and to learn from each other.” (Intermediair, 2014)
2. Choose the right moment
Team leader Frank Leenhoven at Evides Waterbedrijf tells Intermediair: “If you want feedback on a specific incident, do so as quickly as possible. That makes it easier to pick up information and get the opinion of others.”
Employees do not want feedback once or twice a year, but rather want to receive constructive feedback and share their opinions. Not only from managers, but also from external parties, colleagues and other stakeholders. Everything to ensure that the employee can continue to work with his own performance.
The goal here is to be able to make optimum use of the talents of the employees and to stimulate personal development. Employees who can deploy their talents experience more job happiness, are more involved and perform better. This is not only beneficial for the employee, but ultimately for the goals of the entire organization.
This continuous process is not managed by one person, but by various assessors. Like the colleagues with whom you have actively worked in project teams, but also customers and partners can give you feedback. You ask for feedback after every important achievement and that ensures that you learn to like receiving feedback.
3. Ask for a tip and a top
Make it less exciting by asking for a tip and a top. That way you don’t have to be afraid of only negative feedback, but you are assured of a positive top. By ensuring that you receive feedback about what went well and what could be improved, you stimulate your development. Positive feedback provides recognition of commitment and behavior and also ensures enthusiasm and involvement.
Make sure you make this question specific to the giver. Don’t do this: “Can you give me a tip and top about my performance?” But: “Can you give me a tip and top about how I conducted the interview with Anne de Vries?”
4. Use open questions
You ask for feedback to gain more insight into your performance. So you don’t want to get a “yes” or “no” as an answer. It is important to ask open questions so that you increase the chance of a comprehensive and relevant answer. Ask questions that start with “what,” “how,” “who,” “when,” or “why.”
The giver is forced to make full use of his or her own knowledge, experience and feelings when answering open questions. And that is what you want.
5. Behavior, feeling, consequences and desired behavior
As a feedback receiver you ask the giver to describe a situation in which certain behavior was noticed. Subsequently, the receiver asks to identify the feeling that his or her behavior has aroused at the giver. The giver then attempts to provide insight into the consequences of the recipient’s behavior. Finally, the giver can try to describe the desired behavior. A change that he or she would like to see.
But how do you ensure that you ask a powerful question with this desired result? You could ask: “Would you – expressed in behavior, feeling, consequences and desired behavior- want to mention something that you notice about how I function?”
6. Ask different people
To get a complete picture of your performance, it is useful to request feedback from different angles. This way you create a 360 feedback process. With 360 feedback, more than two people speak out about the employee. This can be managers, but also a coach, colleagues or clients. This creates a complete picture of the employee and his performance.
Feedback from different people makes the feedback more accurate, more reflective and more validating than feedback from a person alone. This makes the information more useful for both career and personal development.
It seems easy to stay in your own trusted world, but in this way you have no idea if you can improve anywhere. Do you want to grow? Then you need people around you who see your areas for improvement and can tell you how you are performing. That way you stay sharp and alert.
7. Thank the giver
If you have received the feedback you asked for… Be grateful. Management consultant Peter Ambagtsheer tells Intermediair: “Don’t shoot the messenger. Giving honest feedback shows courage and commands respect. Employees show that they want to invest in the relationship.” (Intermediair, 2014)
Interim manager Renate Kooistra says about this: “Be grateful for the fact that someone takes the time to share his or her vision with you. You are apparently worth it and you are being awarded to improve. When you thank for the feedback, this person knows that you are also willing to listen to feedback the next time.” (Intermediair, 2014)
Now that you know how to request feedback, it’s time to actually do it. This is a matter of “just doing it”. The app and web application from TruQu will support you in a fun way when asking for feedback from colleagues, customers or partners. With TruQu’s Performance Management software you can guarantee the entire performance cycle of your organization.