What I crave in my role as a boss, is to feel that my team can complete my sentences. That they follow me like my shadow. That doesn’t mean they should always agree with me – but understand what I’m talking about, where I’m coming from and why — yes!
What’s the next best thing to seamless teamwork? And how do I know when someone who just joined our team is going to work out well? That’s when I’m asked frequently for feedback. This is best when done casually as part of our workflow and especially near the start of new projects or responsibilities.
BAD: “Eric, can we schedule a time to talk about my job performance?”
GREAT: “Eric, how do you like what I’m doing? Is this what you had in mind? Any ideas for improvement?”
(by e-mail, IM, tel or VM, all great)
If you need to schedule time to ask for feedback, then you probably are not in the habit of asking and you’ve created a situation where your request may be perceived as an annoyance and the meeting itself a source of tension. Why?
If you are not in the habit of asking for frequent feedback, the meeting you requested comes too late. Too late to make changes to work that has already been done. If you haven’t asked me for feedback in nine months, I’ll assume that you are fearful and unreceptive. Or, I may assume your interest level and commitment to the job are just average.
Whatever the reasons are, a lack of steady communication about performance, will eventually create tension between you and your boss. Of course, if you aren’t asking for feedback because I’m already giving you a steady stream of positive feedback, that’s understandable – we’ll probably have a good meeting if you insist.
Should the boss ask for feedback from the team also? Yes! While you’re waiting for the boss to ask you for feedback, here’s a checklist.
Ask for feedback:
- frequently & informally
- when starting new projects or responsibilities
- during or after a job interview
- with your own continuous improvement in mind
- to calibrate your efforts to current priorities & avoid wasting company resources
- to enhance your productivity and value to the company
- to evaluate and enhance your job security
- to stand out from the pack
- to dissipate tension and enjoy a better relationship with your boss
- to create more opportunities for discussing job fit with your boss