On this “Ask Katrina,” the question is:
I feel like I never get feedback from my supervisor. How do I ask for feedback and actually get it?
As high achievers, we always want to be doing more and doing our jobs better than before.
There’s always another level and we want to get there.
Add to that the next layer of our performance obsession, to exceed expectations, and we have a recipe that requires constant feedback from those who set the bar and grade our performance against it.
Getting feedback from our supervisors is a must.
So how do we get that feedback?
Scheduling Intentional Feedback Time
The first step in this is to ensure you’re creating space on your calendar (and theirs) for a feedback discussion.
If you don’t have a twice-a-month to once-a-month standing meeting with this person, team, etc., then you’re leaving your feedback discussions to chance.
The time to discuss, share, and grow must be scheduled intentionally.
So look at your calendar now. If you don’t have that standing meeting on there, add it!
We can’t be getting and giving feedback in the hall as we pass each other between meetings.
Create intentional time for feedback if you haven’t already.
Schedule, then Ask
Now it’s time to ask for feedback.
This is the second pitfall we tend to experience as executive women. We don’t directly ask for feedback.
We are waiting for someone to seek us out, pull us aside, and rant and rave about just how amazing we are.
Now in the busy corporate environment, you and I both know that the only people who are being pulled aside are the ones who are underperforming.
Most leaders are going to say they don’t have time to intentionally praise. (I’m going to tell you to be a better leader than that!)
No matter your reason or rationale, do not wait for someone to volunteer their feedback about your performance.
Be intentional with both the time set and the ask.
Now, let’s tackle the actual feedback for a second.
How often have you asked for feedback, only to be told “You’re amazing! Just keep doing what you’re doing”?
We walk out of that conversation “all smiles” only to sit down 5 minutes later going, “CRAP!”
On the surface, that feedback sounded like a gift. But in reality, it simply causes more questions.
If we knew which of the few out of the 50 things we were doing that generated that response, we would keep doing those few things and stop the other 48.
That’s why we need feedback!
What are we doing well? What is one thing I did well this week/month?
What do I need to improve upon?
We need specifics!
We are doing a lot of things at (what we think is) the highest level.
But we feel like any minute, one or more of those spinning plates is going to fall.
Which ones must keep spinning and how fast?
So if you’re getting the “keep doing what you’re doing, you’re great” answer, here’s how you get past that.
“Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I appreciate it. I definitely want to keep performing at the highest level. Tell me, what is one activity I am doing exceptionally well?” (Let him/her answer. Take notes on their response.)
“What do you appreciate about my performance in that area?” (Again, listen to the answer and take notes.)
“Thank you for that feedback.”
“Now, what is one area that you know I can do better with or one that, if I performed at a higher level, would help you and the team perform better?” (Listen and take notes.)
Commit to the continued performance as well as the requested improvement area.
Then let them know you will be asking for feedback during your scheduled meetings together. (So that hopefully they will plan and give you even more constructive information.)
Don’t Wait for the Ask, Give
And as always, we are challenged to be the leader we want to see in the world, which means we must give feedback to those individuals around us.
Ensure you have time each month to give feedback to your team, your peers, and even your supervisor.
If you would like support on asking for feedback and/or giving feedback, all of those actions are part of what we call “execing correctly” here at Legend Leaders. If you’re not quite ready to get feedback from your supervisor, schedule a 15-minute call with us, and let us give you some feedback to get you started.
When you’re ready, know that you can work with me privately. If you want to master executive leadership at a rapid pace but do so in a private setting, this is a path for you. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line: “PRIVATE,” and tell me a bit about you in the email. I will follow up with you directly.