Ask for Specific Feedback – Make Performance Appraisals More Useful
My son’s first soccer coach would frequently tell the kids, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” As adults receiving performance appraisals, I think we can do better.
Performance appraisals are, for many, the most dreaded day of the year. Most employees anticipate the meeting, wondering what their manager will say. In addition to hearing about the situations your manager and others in your organization observed throughout the year, why not tell your manager what you’d like to know?
It’s perfectly appropriate to tell your manager if you’d like feedback about a specific aspect of your performance or about your work on a certain project or piece of work. And the time to ask for this feedback is at least one month BEFORE your appraisal meeting.
Most people don’t like to be caught off guard or feel that they can’t answer a question. Asking for feedback in the moment, that your boss can’t address, may embarrass your manager. Don’t put managers on the spot. Set your boss and yourself up for success by asking for specific feedback BEFORE meetings, and give your manager a chance to observe you doing that kind of work.
If you want to know how you manage telling internal or external clients “no”, give your boss a chance to see or hear you do this. If you want feedback on how you built relationships with peers virtually this year, give your boss a chance to observe that behavior or time to ask your peers for input.
Ask a vague question, get a vague answer. Ask a specific question, get a specific answer. If you want specific feedback, let your manager know and give her time to observe you doing the actions you’re asking about BEFORE the feedback conversation.