Importance of feedback?
Imagine taking a trip to the Himalayas. You are excited to drive all the way from your city. Do you just pack your stuff and leave? No. You determine your route and stick to it as closely as possible. Even with these preparations, you check whether you are on the right track at frequent intervals. In a way, you seek feedback to estimate whether you will make it to your destination as planned.
Similarly, feedback are necessary in professional lives as well. Employees need to understand if their performance is aligned to their goals.
These tips gauge your performance and guide you to continuously improve.
From whom should you seek feedback?
You should have regular meetings with your managers. They are your primary source to obtain feedback. It is one of their tasks to keep track of your performance as it reflects on their own performance as well. Take initiative and ask the right questions. Your manager will appreciate your willingness to improve and increase contribution. This in itself will help you get a positive feedback.
Apart from managers, your colleagues too can give you feedback. They work with you closely and together you strive to achieve the team’s objectives. They know when you have been supportive, took initiative or even if you have been incompetent or have not cooperated with other teammates. They can give you a fair assessment.
If you interact with your customers regularly, you can seek feedback from them as well. Be it good or bad, customers like to share their experience with your product and/or service. You can either reach out to them directly or get their feedback through a questionnaire.
Self assessment is another way you can analyse your strengths and weaknesses. You can share your pain areas with your managers and take their help to improvise. Understand which skills are increasing your productivity and focus on capitalising on them. You should be honest and professional to be able to assess yourself efficiently.
But how do you ask for feedback?
No matter from whom you seek feedback, asking the right questions is very important. Your questions should be phrased properly to elicit meaningful response.
Ask a mix of open ended questions as well as specific questions. Specific questions will get you objective response. These are conclusive in nature as they are designed to create data that can be easily quantified. You can use multiple choice questions, check boxes or even ranking methods as per your needs. The important thing is to provide the right options to get a fair assessment.
Open ended questions will get you subjective response. You can use these to explore your respondent’s attitude towards you. It allows them to express their views rather than forcing them to speak particular words.
When you ask both types of questions, you get qualitative as well as quantitative data.
How frequently should you seek feedback?
Earlier you ask for feedback, the better. Your performance needs to be assessed while it is still fresh in the reviewer’s mind. You can ask for feedback on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. You can ask them at all stages of a project. It need not always be an elaborate affair. You can get a quick feedback over a 2 minutes chat.
As long as you are not unnecessarily wasting your reviewer’s time, it is ok to ask frequent feedback.
Annual feedback were most common in traditional performance management. According to San Francisco-based rewards-and-recognition consulting firm Achievers, 98% of HR executives say yearly evaluations aren’t useful. Only 2% thought these achieved anything useful.
Poor performers go unnoticed throughout the year whereas the consistent ones feel their efforts are not recognised. It can be too late to address these concerns. As far as possible, it is better to avoid annual feedback.
How do you react to feedback?
Feedback should not be mistaken for criticism. If you get a negative feedback, do not get angry. You can identify the factors that are hampering your performance. If you work on these, not only will your performance improve, you will also be appreciated for your efforts.
A positive feedback will confirm that you are going in the right direction to achieve your goals. You should concentrate on taking on bigger challenges and showcase your skills.