There are good surprises, and there are bad surprises. One of the most dejecting surprises you can get is a negative performance review. While some employees go into an evaluation knowing they have shortcomings to address, others think they’re doing fine on the job – until they learn they’re not. This rude awakening often happens in situations where employees and their supervisors only have formal one-on-one meetings once a year.
The best way to avoid this unpleasant surprise is to request feedback from your boss periodically. It can have other benefits, too, like helping you grow professionally by keeping a handle on your strengths and weaknesses. Here are some tips for making that feedback as productive as possible.
Request an Honest Feedback Session
If you want truly useful feedback, don’t count on a casual “How am I doing?” to your boss when you pass each other in the hall. Instead, send them an email asking for 15-20 minutes of their time to touch base on your goals. Make it clear that you’re looking for a frank discussion of what you’re doing right and where you could improve.
Prepare for Honest Feedback
You can’t ask for a candid evaluation and expect anything less than what may sometimes be brutal honesty. Get in the right mindset to accept constructive criticism, and try not to be defensive. You’re not being personally attacked; you’re looking for ways to reach your full potential in your role. So, stay positive and ask for clarification if you need it.
Keeping in mind that the point of a feedback session is to create an action plan for maximizing your effectiveness, be sure to take detailed notes. Whether you’re a pen-and-paper person or a fan of Google Docs, make sure you come away from the meeting with bullet points you can build on. And don’t be afraid to ask your boss to repeat a key thought here and there to make sure you got the point.
Get a Second Opinion
If you’re not ready for a heart-to-heart with your boss, you have another option. Seek out a coworker or friend who has the same type of position you do, except with more experience. Ask them for feedback – either on how you’re doing in general or how you’re approaching a specific project. That way, you can get helpful information without the stress of a one-on-one with your boss.
If you’re still having trouble getting feedback after repeated attempts, don’t let yourself get too frustrated. It may be time to look for other work opportunities. If that’s the case, you can trust Arrow Staffing to help you find a more satisfying position. We’ll discuss your experience and career goals, then work hard to find the best fit for you. Start your job search here.