The Gift of Honest Feedback
’Tis the season of giving, and in offices around the world, people are exchanging gifts and good cheer. But what’s the best gift you can get from your boss this year? Hint: it’s not a pay rise or more holiday allowance.
The answer is the truth about your performance. What have you been doing well, what have you been doing not quite so well, and what new skills should you be looking to develop in the new year? Now is the best time to ask, and it can be a valuable gift to receive.
Often, the onus of asking for feedback will fall on you, as many line managers shrink away from it – either because they aren’t fond of the process or because they think you already know it all anyway.
Set aside some time to approach your boss and ask for a true assessment of how you’ve been doing in your role. You should do some preparation yourself before the review. Think of your accomplishments over the past year and bring them up at an appropriate time. Getting feedback on what you’re doing right is as valuable as knowing what you need to change. You may also want to make a list of things you’d like to work on.
If your boss does say something negative, it’s important that you remain positive. Don’t run away from the truth or try to offload the blame. If there’s something you need to work on, accept it, and devise a strategy with your boss there and then to help you improve.
Taking an active role in the feedback process in this way can lead to new opportunities. Acknowledge what your manager has told you, and use it to improve over the next year. Respecting their feedback and honesty will lead to a much better working experience for both of you.
This is also a great time to set goals for the new year. Having something to work towards can give you the push you need. You can also plan some regular feedback sessions so that you and your manager can chart your progress together and keep you on track.
So go and ask your boss for the gift of honest feedback, take it on board, and plan how you’re going to improve next year.