Feedback - Seeking it out

Posted on May 05, 2016 by Emer O'Donnell

Feedback-Seeking_it_out.jpgI seem to be having a lot of conversations about feedback recently. I’ve been struck by how many people work in a feedback vacuum. Despite a growing ‘feedback’ culture, for many, the only real feedback they get is at their annual performance review. For others, particularly leaders in a business, they don’t even get this.

The thing is – we all need feedback. None of us are perfect and we all have things we could be doing better. But if there is no feedback, how do we know? Equally, when we are doing things well, we also need feedback on that too.So if you are working in a feedback vacuum, how can you change it? If the culture of your organization is to only give feedback once a year at the dreaded performance review, how can you get more regular actionable feedback?

It’s pretty simple really. Ask for it! It really is that simple.

Think of people you admire, whose opinions you trust and ask them. This may sound daunting but with a couple of simple questions used regularly you can get the feedback you need.

When seeking feedback here are some things you should think about:

  • Be concrete about the type of feedback you are looking for e.g. if you ask someone for feedback on a report – be clear whether it’s proofreading, editing or feedback on the flow and content/ideas you need.
  • Use open questions e.g. “What could I have done differently in that meeting?” rather than “Did I run that meeting well?”
  • Seek clarity e.g. If you get ambiguous feedback ask for concrete examples of behaviour etc. so you can understand and action the feedback
  • And don’t forget to return the favour - model the feedback you need by sharing feedback with others.


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Posted in: Feedback