Three ways to get better feedback

Hi!

When did you last ask someone for feedback? About anything? Self-reflection can be powerful, but the people around you often see things a little differently. 

Today, I’ve got 3 tools to help you tap into their unique perspectives: feedback as part of your routine, structured feedback in teams, and the skip-level session.

Feedback as routine

This is the easiest and most practical way to get feedback. I wrote about it a few weeks back: organize frequent input about what you do.

Get used to asking What do you think I could do better? That question encourages people to give constructive criticism and will generate more insight than a simple How’d I do? Every interaction is an opportunity to collect feedback.

Structured feedback in teams

If your organization or team doesn’t have a method to ensure regular, structured feedback, you can be sure you’re missing out on valuable observations. You’re then dependent on people who stick their neck out to share feedback, a manager who takes the time to make suggestions, and the chances that the ideas of one employee will be taken seriously by another.

If you’re in a position to change the system: introduce a lightweight process. Include at least an evaluation of your own performance and feedback from people around you, which you then discuss with your manager. 

Don’t have the luxury of this kind of process? No manager to lead it? Then organize it yourself. It’s the key to continuing to learn and grow.

Reflect on your own work over the past six months and write down what you find. Ask two close (and critical!) colleagues to do the same about their own work, then discuss all of your findings as openly as possible in a small group, with perhaps one or two additional coworkers you trust. 

The skip-level session

I first heard about the skip-level session on the manager tools podcast (though the focus there is quite different than mine). When I worked at Blendle, I organized a session for myself on two occasions.

In short: your boss speaks with people in your team without you present (hence skip-level) and gathers anonymous feedback. Your manager weighs everything and formulates key insights that you can then take up and do something with. While this isn’t for everyone (less relevant for non-managers for instance), I wanted to include it here. Few methods give you more worthwhile takeaways in such a short time.

What’s your favorite way to get good feedback fast? New tips are always welcome! 

Have a good week,

Rick