It's natural not to embrace feedback with open arms. Feedback exposes, bringing with it the risk of criticism and none of us finds it easy to embrace that. But what if we told you feedback could be the key to your next promotion? Asking for feedback gets you in front of the right people (tick), gives you a chance to voice your aspirations (tick tick) and allows you perfect opportunity to sell yourself (biggest tick of all). Still not sure? Here's how to feed your feedback appetite:
GET IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. NOT AN EMAIL. ACTUALLY IN FRONT OF THEM.
If you have a reason to see someone, go see them. Don’t drop papers off when they’re not there, or rely on email, but actually make them see you, visually see you. It works. Senior HR Director Jill King describes how she has been in "rooms discussing lists of candidates for top promotions and it is those whose faces are known - who have made a face to face impact - that the sponsors will talk about most confidently and positively and ultimately promote.’
In general, bosses report that while male employees regularly beat down the door to get their faces seen, women rarely ask for unsolicited feedback. Best not to bother the big guns, we think. But when we put off going in for a face-to-face, we do ourselves a huge disservice.
DON'T JUST ASK FOR THEIR OPINION. STATE YOUR ASPIRATIONS.
Emulate Celebrity Apprentice star and entrepreneur Gemma Godfrey and don't shy away from the ask. ‘I’m always the one asking for the most number of progress reports," she says. "And when I move jobs, I make sure I ask for everything." Remember, reviews are as much a chance for us to list our achievements as they are for us to find our how we’re doing.
Yes it can feel awkward asking for a review, or even just a 15-minute catch up, but the moments that we get alone with the right people in our organisation or industry, are game changers.
DON'T WAIT FOR YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW. FEEDBACK ISN'T JUST FOR CHRISTMAS
What we’re nudging you towards is a mindset where you don’t just rely on annual reviews, or the industry conference to get speaking to the Big Guns. All of us need to be getting in front of the right people regularly, so that they can see how we’re doing and what we’re up to. The good thing about regular contact it that it works both ways: we learn as much as we give when we speak to the right people. Strategic meetings (even ones across two Martinis) give both sides the opportunity to discuss where their heads are at, their achievements and the future.
As a ballpark figure, we’d suggest that these types of meetings should happen four times a year. That way, you’ll have plenty to talk about and you should have a couple of prize proofs of progress to throw around too. If quarterly isn’t possible, then aim for a review meeting at least every four to six months.
Have you asked for feedback recently? What did it do for your career? We love to hear your Step Up stories in action so don't forget to comment below. Promise: we'll reply to each and every one.