As we head into the end of the year, it’s a great time to motivate ourselves to reach back out to friends and colleagues to look back on the year and also solicit feedback for use in personal development and reflection over the holidays. I find this to be a really valuable way to keep yourself properly networked and shepherd actionable feedback from your colleagues and friends, so that you ultimately avoid the tendency many of us have to not show substantive improvement in our capabilities or skills year-over-year.
Good questions to yield healthy dialogue as part of a feedback session:
- What do you feel my major strengths are with respect to my current position/role?
- What are two or three key areas you think I could improve personally in order to add more value or drive better results for the team?
- How would you describe my morale around the office? My work ethic?
- In what area (of the business overall or within our functional space) should I spend more time and energy next year in order to grow?
- In what ways do you feel like we best collaborate?
- If you could describe me as any type of animal, what type of animal and why?
OK, so the last one was a bit of a joke and kind of “out there”, although I have been known to ask interviewees about themselves likened to an animal (for no other reason than to chuckle – I’m really not psychoanalyzing the answer I swear). But, as you can see, I generally try to avoid common “Yes/No” answers, and aim to capture feedback that is both positive as well as constructively critical. That is because it helps me continually develop a healthier internal personnel profile, letting me know who my advocates could be for future opportunities, as well as the areas in which I could stand to use some development or practice. Selfishly, it also lets me establish a baseline with the reviewer so that I can come back to them over the course of time and do a temperature check on whether I am making progress (e.g. “Hello Jill, I know you had previously mentioned that I could possibly stand to do better grammatical reviews in my summary reports; I wanted to see if you feel as though the last few have been going better? It is something I have been working on in recent months.”).
As far as whether these should be conducted in-person, over the phone, or through an electronic source (email/Survey Monkey), I typically adjust based upon the personality of the person from whom I am seeking feedback. You will hear “experts” in strategic communication or feedback processes tell you it has to be in person – but I don’t think that is far to the feedback giver (and, ultimately, will net you a diluted or watered down version of the truth in many cases). Either way, as long as you are making an effort to capture this sort of feedback with a regular cadence, you will ensure you are setting yourself up for personal or professional success in whatever endeavor next year may bring.
Til Next Time,