4 Rules for Asking for Feedback

Posted on: Jan 15, 2015

Categories: Millennial Perspective

It isn’t easy to know how you’re doing these days.

I don’t know if it’s a certain neediness for affirmation of millennials or a reticence of preceding generations—or some combination of the two—but I do know that millennials want feedback, and they aren’t getting enough of it.

In my keynote, I demonstrate that leading the millennial workforce is completely different—they need applause (or constructive criticism) every step of the way.

Whether you’re a millennial or not, asking for feedback from your boss—and giving feedback to the millennials you lead—is an integral part of making an organization run smoothly. 

It’s harder than it sounds because you have to be prepared to not like what they have to say. But if you can forge through the discomfort, you increase your potential to grow in your job, to learn the skills you need, and to show your employer (and your employees) that you aren’t satisfied with being mediocre.

Today, I want you to try asking for feedback. Go into your superior’s office and ask about a specific project—ask what they liked, what they didn’t like, what could have been better. If you’re going to try this, though, you have to remember these four rules:

1. Don’t defend yourself.

Now is not the time to respond to their critique—you’re not there to give feedback on their feedback. Listen quietly and just take it all in.

2. Bring a pencil and paper.

As they give you feedback, take notes, even if you intend to throw it in the garbage later. This shows that you respect them and you take their opinions seriously.

3. Your attitude is everything.

Think about body language. Sit up, smile, be engaged, nod, lean into their words. Leaning back in your chair with your arms crossed just says that you disagree and are feeling defensive.

4. Before you leave, thank them

Say how much you appreciate their honesty. They have just shared lessons that they had to learn the hard way with you—be thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

Do you make a habit of asking for feedback? How have others responded?  Share your experience with me!

You Might Also Like

Esther Cunningham head shot

Transitioning Gracefully

You all know Curtis. He’s the reason you’re reading this in the first place. You don’t know me. My name is Esther and I’ve been working at the Curtis Zimmerman Group for a…

Read More
Large red F.A.Q. button

Do You Have to Ask?

This is a complaint about Millennials I’ve heard a number of times from frustrated senior members of a company: They have to ask. Part of the frustration comes from the fact that a…

Read More
Sitting in a job interview

Why Hiring New People Is So Frustrating (And How to Make It Easier)

High employee turnover is one of the most expensive problems a company can have. Even if you’re hiring new employees who technically has the same number of years of experience, they don’t have…

Read More