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How to ask for feedback

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in Career Management,Centerpiece,Workplace Communication

You crave it. And you probably don’t get enough of it. Here’s how to ask for feedback on your performance:

1.  Schedule it. Your boss needs to be available. You’ll need a private place. And plan ahead so the other person has time to think.

2.  Explain what you want. Say, “I need your take on some of my recent work,” or “How do I come across to our internal and external customers?”

3.  Don’t fish for compliments. People will hold back if they doubt you want an honest assessment. Say, “I think I may not be seen as a ‘problem-solver’.  How do you think I could change that?”

4.  Ask for specifics. It helps de­­fuse the tension. If your boss says you always do something or other, say, “Wow, I didn’t realize I came off that way. I really don’t want to give that impression. Can you think of a situation where I’ve done that recently?”

5.  Stop being defensive. This is the hardest part. It’s so easy to blurt out confrontational questions like, “Why do you say that?” or “What does that mean?”

6.  Thank them. Be appreciative. And ask for more feedback.

7.  Approach others. Ask the same questions and look for patterns.

8.  Develop an action plan. If you’ve done this right, you should have actionable material. After you’ve worked on your behavior for a month or two, make the rounds again.

— Adapted from Getting Ahead, Joel A. Garfinkle, Wiley.

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