In the manager and development world one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is ongoing and robust feedback.
In my sessions with managers and employees, it is a frequent topic.
I often hear from employees that they want more feedback from their managers. I hear from managers that the feedback they share doesn’t seem to land or they wonder how direct and honest they can be. How do we meet in the middle? February kicks off a 3 part series covering 3 perspectives:
- Employee Initiative
- Management Instincts
- Coaching your Manager
Today, I will discuss Employee Initiative.
From employees I hear: I wish I got more feedback from my manager. My manager says that I am doing great but I want to know more. What does great mean? How am I really doing?
There are 2 parts to this issue to be addressed:
- What is it you really want to know to be satisfied?
- Are you leading this discussion effectively?
To get what you want you need to know what you want and then you need to lead the conversation. It is quite possible your manager believes that you are in synch and that you know where you stand.
First, start by thinking about what it is that you really want to know. How you would know it if you heard it from your manager. What it would feel like. What it is you need to hear.
Be specific. Do you want to know if you are on track to get promoted in the timeframe you desire? Are you being considered for a key project that you know is being staffed? Has your manager noticed some really hard work you have been doing to improve in an area of development? Be prepared to ask specific and targeted questions that align to exactly what you want to know. This gives your manager a clear understanding of the exact feedback you seek. If you ask: how am I doing? you will likely leave the discussion dissatisfied, without much detail or clarity.
Second, do some good self-reflection. Where do you believe that you are strong and performing well? Where do you know you have room to grow or are not delivering at the level expected? In what areas do you think you are ready for that promotion? What is the timeframe that you hope for? Then share your assessment with your manager and ask: In what areas would you agree? Is there any where you have a different perspective? What is that based on? Your goal is to gather specific information. Your personal assessment may not be the same as your managers, however for the areas in which you are not aligned you can discuss the differences and use the information to create your own plan for improvement.
The goal is to get specific, targeted and relevant information because with information you can take action. Always assume that your manager has the greatest intentions for your success and development. It can be easier for your manager to be candid with you when you have shown a good amount of self-awareness and done solid pre-work. It shows you are open to feedback and seeking the input for further improvement.
Worst case scenario? You learn where you and your manager are not in synch. You find out where your perspectives do not align. You can explore why.
What is the result? Now you know! You have specific information you can work with! You can go do something about it! Wouldn’t you say that is a pretty good outcome?
Employees: don’t wait for great feedback. Create the environment for your manager to provide it.