Good working people always hunger for feedback.
They desire to improve their current skills or even learn new ones. Based on feedback or tips they can improve themselves even further. This increases their focus, productivity, and even enjoyment in working.
But if you ask for feedback you may get generic answers like:
‘I like what you are doing, so keep it!’
‘Yeah, you can improve on skill X’. These answers are useless as feedback.
So how do you ask for feedback?
First of all, do not ask the other person very generic questions like: ‘Hey, do you have feedback or tips for me?’ or something similar.
This question is too broad. It is like asking me what I think of you and I will answer: you are good, nice blah blah blah. Basically, you will get useless information.
Instead, ask specific questions. For example, keep track of what you did in the past days to weeks. Other people’s memories are still fresh from that period. Thus they can recall more. If you had a meeting and what to know how you handled it, ask:
‘How did you think I did the presentation at that meeting?’
‘Do you think I was a bit too blunt in that meeting?’.
If I get these questions, I can answer more specific and give for example:
Yeah, the presentation was great, I missed some more information about X. Think that could be included as well.
No, you weren’t too blunt. In fact, it is great since we are not straying away from our goals. To improve you can provide one or two arguments extra for your points.
I’m 100% sure that this feedback is more useful than the generic ‘Yes, you are great’.
By asking the right questions, you get better answers and thus feedback.
Second, let your colleagues know that you want to improve on something specific. For example, you may want to improve your documentation skills. Tell that to your colleagues.
Your colleagues will get a better idea of what kind of feedback you want. If you told them and ask them a week later:
‘Hey, as you know I’m trying to improve my documentation skills. What did you think of document X and Y? ’.
They have more context of what kind of feedback you want. Then they are more prone to giving you the right feedback.
To get the right feedback, you need to be specific and open about it. Generic questions like ‘can you give me feedback?’ will result in generic answers. Which are useless in most cases.
Ask what they thought about a specific piece of work or the social setting of you. Only then you get a higher chance of getting something useful.
Be specific and ask the right questions for the feedback!