Feedback is very useful for telling us “where we are.” In my experience, there are a hundred wrong ways to ask for feedback and one right way. Most of us know the wrong ways. We ask people, “What do you think of me?” “How do you feel about me?” “What do you hate about me?” or “What do you like about me?” Think about your colleagues. How many of them are your friends? How many of them really want to express to you their “true” feelings about you, to you?
A better question (and in my opinion the only question that works) is, “How can I do better?” Variations based on circumstances are okay, such as “What can I do to be a better partner at home?” or “What can I do to be a better leader of the group?” You get the idea. Pure issue-free feedback that makes change possible has to a) solicit advice rather than criticism, b) be directed towards the future, and c) be couched in a way that suggests you are, in fact, going to try to do better.
Author: Marshall Goldsmith
Subjects: Career / Employment, Human Resources, Management, Organizational Behavior, Personal Development