If you’re lucky enough to have a culture of self-driven development, employees at any level should be able to solicit feedback on a regular basis from their coworkers. This is growing more common as companies are moving away from the annual performance appraisal exercise and seeking ways for employees to receive more frequent, meaningful feedback, As with anything, some times are better than others to do so. This means HR organizations and employees themselves need to identify who, when, and under what circumstances feedback should be solicited.
Who should you ask for feedback? When is a good time? Here are five common work events that provide a great opportunity to solicit input from others.
1. Ask attendees of a meeting you recently facilitated for feedback.
We’ve all been there. You attend a meeting and one or more of the following happens:
- You want to poke your eyes out because the meeting is boring, purposeless, or way too long.
- You cringe because you are embarrassed for the facilitator for some kind of verbal or physical blunder.
- You observe or are part of a communication breakdown among the attendees.
- You leave the meeting confused, surprised, or fearful for what’s to come.
Don’t be the facilitator of that meeting! Or if you are, take steps immediately after the meeting to find out what you can do next time to prevent it from repeating.
2. Ask project team members for feedback at the conclusion of the project.
You may be stoked because your project was a huge success or maybe you’re simply relieved that the project is over. Asking for feedback at the conclusion of a project is a great opportunity to reflect on how your behaviors impacted other members of the team. Whether you were project manager or a contributing participant, you should take advantage of the timing immediately after the project ends while the experience is still fresh in people’s minds.
3. Ask your former peers or direct reports at the start of a transition into a new role.
Coworkers you used to work with until very recently can be a great source of insight. These people may feel more comfortable giving you developmental feedback because they know they won’t be working with you on a regular basis in the future. Whether you are leaving the company or moving to a new role in the same organization, take advantage of the opportunity to seek feedback any time you are transitioning from one workgroup to another.
4. Ask key stakeholders you worked with on a recent crisis.
Do you know people that function really well under predictable circumstances but are barely recognizable under pressure? Do you ever wonder if you are one of those people? After the dust settles from your next unfortunate surprise, ask the key people you worked with for feedback. Make sure you communicate that your reason for asking for feedback is to determine which behaviors you should continue to demonstrate in the next crisis, and which you should approach differently.
5. Ask key stakeholders of a change that’s just been introduced.
When change is introduced, we tend to collect lots of feedback about the change itself and how people feel about it, but not about our individual behavior as implementers or facilitators of the change. Particularly in a leadership role, it is critical to evaluate the impact of our own behavior on the change, not only for professional development purposes, but for success of the change as well.
These are some examples of opportunities to get frequent feedback but this list is certainly not exhaustive. What occasion do you recommend as an opportunity to get feedback? Share with us in the comments!