The value of feedback

Are you interested in hearing feedback on your performance?

Asking for feedback can be scary

When was the last time you asked a work colleague for feedback on your performance?  In fact, when was the last time you asked anyone for feedback on your performance in any area of your life? Erm, sport for instance?

The truth is asking for feedback is scary. Why the hell would you want to do it?  Perhaps you don’t care what others think of your performance at work?  Or are you simply petrified of what someone might tell you?

I’ve carried out a number of formal staff performance appraisals over the years, when asking for feedback is mandatory. The dreaded ’360 review’ process.  Of course in formal appraisals one talks about ‘what’s going well’ and ‘areas for development’ and therefore theoretically noone gets hurt.

How serious are you about improving your performance?

But let’s be frank, while it’s wonderful to receive the praise, it isn’t so peachy when you get to hear that ‘someone’ you work with (it’s usually an anonymous process) thinks you’re “out of your depth”/”struggling”/”not up to par” or all of the above ;-).

But let’s talk about the value of asking for feedback on your performance.  Particularly if you want to develop/grow/get promoted etc.  It can be one of the most useful exercises you can ever do in your career and you don’t have to wait until the annual formal appraisal comes around to do it.

If you’re genuinely serious about pursuing a certain career path and you want to progress quickly, why not ask someone you respect to give you some feedback?  One, they’ll admire you for it and two, you might just learn something ground breaking.  Something that once you know will help you accelerate your progress.

What area of your life would it be valuable to get feedback?

Think about a situation where it would be really useful to have some feedback in order for you to improve. Maybe you’re making a big presentation and you ask someone to listen to you while you go through it. Perhaps you have an important meeting and you ask your colleague afterwards how they thought you’d performed.  Even, you may have been in your job now for a short while and you want to check if your boss thinks you’re doing ok.

You’ll be surprised by how helpful your colleague/boss will be.  If you let them know how much you value their opinion and reiterate that you want to use it to improve your own performance, they are often flattered.

So what area of your life is so important to you that you are going to ask someone for their feedback on your performance?

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