LessonHow to ask for feedback.

To move ahead with your career, you need to start by finding out what you could be doing better.

We are going to assume you are assume at some parts of your job – but all of us, no matter how brilliant, have areas we need to work on and develop.

Learning to listen to others identify our weaker areas, and then work on them not only helps you become better at what you do, it helps you get noticed.

From a psychological point of view, you are, in part pandering to the “whats in it for them” mindset of your manager when you ask for feedback. You are helping them see you are invested in the group’s success. This is an appealing quality.

Your task is to ask someone for feedback.

To do so, you need to follow this framework:

1. Make sure you tell the person you want honest feedback.

Kiwi culture often stops us from saying what we really think because we don’t want to offend. Let them know you want their honest thoughts.

2. Ask them what you could do better with in the future.

If you ask them to talk about past performance, you will find they will be more hesitant to speak truthfully. If you ask them how you can change from today on, they will be more open.

3. Ask QUALIFYING questions

If you don’t immediately get what they mean, ask more questions. If they say they want you to put more effort in, or be more of a team player, ask them what that means. A winning solution is in applying what they value is important. You might either address the wrong aspect of the change, or totally go overboard and use way too much effort in fixing it.

Try and find out what behaviours they’d expect to see, to demonstrate improvement.

4. Don’t get defensive.

Often or first response when listening to feedback is to want to defend your position and justify your past behaviour. No matter how you are feeling, don’t judge the person for saying it – after all, you asked for it! The moment you get defensive, they are going to freeze you out.

5. Write it down

Here is the second most important point (the first was asking for honest feedback)

Make sure you write it down. It helps you stop talking back to them, and makes sure you remember it.


SO: Your task this week is to ask for feedback on an aspect of your job.