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Performance Feedback – Top 5 Questions Effective Leaders Can Ask Direct Reports For Quality Feedback

Have you ever worked for someone that never asked for your feedback? How did that feel? I know that in my corporate experience one of the biggest workplace demotivators is not being asked for your feedback at work. Everyone likes to be heard and to have an impact in the bigger picture. Allow that. Enable it. Encourage it. Here’s how:

First, grab 5 sheets of paper and write a Top 5 question (see list below) at the top of each paper. Leave lots of room on each page for the feedback you will get.

  1. If you had my job, what’s the first thing that you would do that you don’t think we’re doing yet?
  2. What do you need more of from me?
  3. What do you need less of from me?
  4. What is it that I’m doing that you would like me to stop doing completely?
  5. What is it that I’m not doing enough of that you’d like some more of?

Second, write a list of your direct reports and think about how you will meet with each one to ask these questions. Do you want to include it in your upcoming 1-on-1 meeting? Do you want to just stop by their office and informally ask for feedback? Figure out what will work best in your environment to get the highest quality feedback.

Third, go and do the interviews! At the beginning of each conversation, let them know that your goal is to improve your own performance as their boss. You want to find out what you are not aware of that you can make positive changes. Tell them that you respect their opinion and you really want some honest feedback. Show them the 5 sheets and start asking the questions. Do not write their name on any of the sheets. This shows them that you are more interested in the content of the feedback and not about the source of the feedback.

Fourth, take some quiet time to read the feedback, digest it, and make a prioritized list of what changes you want to make. Resist any urges to deny or argue any of the feedback. Remember that you asked for your team’s perception of you. Their perception will not be the same as yours, but it is what counts.

Fifth and finally, communicate to your team what you heard from them and what you are going to do. They will appreciate this. Ask for their help in making your changes happen. Ask them to give you feedback as you begin to make your changes.

Some cautions and advice about asking for quality feedback from your team:

  • Keep your emotions out of the process
  • Don’t label any of the feedback with a person’s name
  • Have an attitude of “I’m looking to improve” and “I am grateful for your feedback”
  • Make sure that you act on the feedback and communicate your actions
  • Plan to repeat these feedback interviews regularly (every quarter or 6 months)

OK, now go do it! And if you stumble…well, you know where to find an executive coach.

Source by Caroline L Smith

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