How to Ask For Feedback

Sep 19, 2017

How To Ask For Feedback

There is an old saying “If you don’t ask you don’t get.” When it comes to feedback as a leader this is crucial- you need to know that people get what you are trying to do and that they understand the targets you get and the goals you are trying to achieve. However, there are ways of asking and it is important to know the effective methods of asking for feedback in order to get what you need.

The problem

Essentially as people we deal with a difficult conflict- on the one hand we want to grow and learn in order to develop skills and build on experience. On the other is the need for acceptance, for people to understand what you want to do. Unfortunately, sometimes these two competing ideals in your mind can clash and this is why people can feel uncomfortable both in terms of giving feedback and taking it.

Different methods

There are various ways that you can get feedback. Anonymity can be beneficial- a suggestion box or an online survey can allow people to say what they think without feeling that someone will be judging them for it.

On the other hand, receiving information face to face can help too- in this instance what you need to do is be proactive and tell people that they can say what they want to you and that this is an important part of the process.

Feedback is learning

Another way of developing the feedback process is to get out of looking at evaluating situations in terms of “right” or “wrong”- by emphasising that you are looking at where things can be improved or developed then you can make it easier for people to look at situations in a constructive way and allow them to help you develop the process a bit more. Essentially the idea is that everyone can help each other.

You need “loving critics”

It is also fair to say that when it comes to criticism having people constantly moan is not productive either. Most people can identify the difference between constructive criticism and people who want to get a rant off their chest. By contrast people continually saying everything is great are not being constructive either, especially if they are afraid to give their true opinion.

However, if you can frame a conversation in the right way it often becomes easier to guide people into how they are giving the feedback and to make sure that it is helpful. Likewise, when it comes to you giving feedback to them you can be more empathetic before you say what you need to discuss with them.

Essentially the idea is to produce “loving critics”- people who want you to succeed (especially as it is for their benefit) and will give you what you need to hear as opposed to what you want to hear, allowing you to develop as a leader and in turn for the team to develop through this process.


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