In a world where asking if you’re doing things correctly can sound like you’re fishing for praise, asking for feedback can be tough. However, feedback – both positive and negative – is essential for professional growth and both men and women need it on a regular basis.
For some, asking for feedback is part of a normal routine; for others, it is a difficult task that requires a lot of preparation. If you’re struggling with asking for feedback, here are some tips to make the process a bit easier.
Ask questions. If you’re unsure what a project should look like at its final stage, ask specific questions and explain that you want to ensure you’re doing things correctly. People will appreciate your efforts to get it right the first time, regardless of whatever “it” is. In the same breath, know your limits and know your job responsibilities. If you don’t know HOW to do something along the way (like create a gif in Photoshop, perform a function in excel, or something technical), there are many resources available for you to look it up! One of the most under-appreciated factors of being a millennial is that we are rarely perceived as go-getters.
Make feedback a part of your regular routine. People who want to progress quickly are often dedicated to professional growth, and feedback is a large part of that process. I think we throw around the term “expert” far too often. As the world changes, so too does our knowledge. We MUST continually grow or we’ll become outdated; therefore, make it a priority to ask for feedback on a routine basis – whether this is once per month, quarterly, or twice per year. Speak to your supervisor about your intentions and ask his or her thoughts on an appropriate schedule. Chances are, they will appreciate your dedication to personal and professional growth and make it a priority just like you have.
Document your feedback as well as your attempts to improve. What is the point of asking for feedback if you’re not going to do anything with it? It’s important to track your professional growth as well as your personal growth, and if you are really dedicated to improving, there is no doubt that you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come. When you are meeting with your supervisor or whoever you’ve requested feedback from, take notes. Review those notes following your meeting and put a plan into action, then review those notes and that plan every so often to ensure that you’re on track. Having this catalogue can also help you in the future if you’re struggling to implement feedback.
Remember that no one is perfect, ever. There will always be room for improvement, even when you’ve reached the final stage in your career. By design, no one is perfect and there will always be areas where we can improve as individuals and as teams. Keep this in mind as you move forward in both your professional and personal spheres. Feedback and continual improvement is important, but our weaknesses also allow for others to make us strong.