Want to know the shortest path to succeeding in your job?

[W]hat I crave in my role as a boss, is to feel that my team can complete my sentences. That they follow me like my shadow. That doesn’t mean they should always agree with me – but understand what I’m talking about, where I’m coming from and why — yes!

What’s the next best thing to seamless teamwork? And how do I know when someone who just joined our team is going to work out well? They ask frequently for feedback. This is best when done casually as part of our workflow and especially near the start of new projects or responsibilities.

taking criticism well

For example:

BAD: “Eric, can we schedule a time to talk about my job performance?”

GREAT: “Eric, how do you like what I’m doing? Is this what you had in mind? Any ideas for improvement?”

(by e-mail, IM, tel or VM, all great)

If you need to schedule a time to ask for feedback, then you probably are not in the habit of asking and you’ve created a situation where your request may be perceived as an annoyance and the meeting itself a source of tension. Why?

If you are not in the habit of asking for frequent feedback, the meeting you requested comes too late. Too late to make changes to work that has already been done. If you haven’t asked me for feedback in nine months, I’ll assume that you are fearful and unreceptive. Or, I  may assume your interest level and commitment to the job are just average.

Whatever the reasons are, a lack of steady communication about performance, will eventually create tension between you and your boss. Of course, if you aren’t asking for feedback because I’m already giving you a steady stream of positive feedback, that’s understandable – we’ll probably have a good meeting if you insist.

Should the boss ask for feedback from the team also? Yes! While you’re waiting for the boss to ask you for feedback, here’s a checklist.

Ask for feedback:

  1. frequently & informally
  2. when starting new projects or responsibilities
  3. during or after a job interview
  4. with your own continuous improvement in mind
  5. to calibrate your efforts to current priorities & avoid wasting company resources
  6. to enhance your productivity and value to the company
  7. to evaluate and enhance your job security
  8. to stand out from the pack
  9. to dissipate tension and enjoy a better relationship with your boss
  10. to create more opportunities for discussing job fit with your boss

Get the ebook! If you liked what you read here, and think you may want to refer back to this guide later, grab the Kindle version – we’re hoping you’ll thank us with a five-star review on Amazon if you found this material helpful. The ebook also includes our job search guide.

For comprehensive advice on the entire job search process, read our complete guide to landing a job at a great company or visit our career advice hub.

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  • As someone who has had only one job, I am extremely new to job interactions between employee and employer. However, even with the one job that I have, this article is still very informative, now and in the future.

    Asking for feedback is something I never thought of doing until now. In every way it improves the relationship between me and my boss. A few times, I have asked my employer about my performance as a camp counselor, but more times than not, she had approached me instead of the other way around. Now, because of this article, I am aware that I should be regularly checking up on my performance and asking for feedback about what I am doing right and what I should be improving on. I believe that this will help me stand out from the rest of my coworkers and gain respect of my boss.

    Asking my boss how I am doing every so often is a new concept that I leaned from this article and I am excited to give it a try in the upcoming summer months when I will be working, and in the future at all jobs and internships that I am involved in.

  • Playing travel soccer for the past ten years has presented many situations similar to the one described in the article. As I grew older and started to take the sport more seriously, I found I was consistently striving to be better. In both work and sports, feedback is crucial in order to get alternate viewpoints and improve your “game.” Constantly checking in to see what you can tweak just to earn more of an edge is what needs to be done to improve your individual skills. In turn benefitting your own success will greaten your “teams” or companies efforts.

    I was always asking coaches what I needed to work on to get better. Over the years I went from the lowest skilled team in the club all the way to the highest. Asking for my weaknesses and improving on them allowed me to immensely improve as a player. Experiences like these can be related to almost any competitive situation. From a business standpoint, the more effort you put in to try and get better the more success you’ll end up having. Improving yourself consists of many things, but constantly checking in for feedback can make a big impact.

  • Asking questions and receiving feedback are perhaps the most necessary part of a job, even my work study position. Without proper communication between yourself and supervisors, you cannot know what you are doing wrong or right. Proper communication can help to limit mistakes and unnecessary work on either side. I personally love to ask questions and make sure to always get feedback on something before I complete it.

    This mentality of needing proper communication has allowed me to maintain a good working relationship with my supervisor so that I know I can go to her for any work related problems and we can get it resolved together. I have received positive comments on my work style before that shows me and other employees that I am a hard worker that strives for excellence in all aspects of life, not just academics. It also helps me feel confident that I am completing tasks correctly and that I can use the style of work for future projects.

    I’m was very excited to read this post because communication is so important, especially in a work environment and more people should know the benefits of it.

  • After graduating high school, I have often gone back during summer and winter breaks to help out in the office and do whatever is needed. A lot of the jobs I did were not consistent every day jobs. Most often I was given different small projects everyday. This kind of work often left me needing to clarify exactly what needed to be done and how my boss needed it done. I asked a lot of questions and double checked to make sure I understood what my boss was expecting. Often, I felt uncomfortable and wondered if my many questions were a bit of an annoyance but after reading this I realize that this is a good quality. Now that I’m looking back, I remember my boss answering all my question with patience and clarity. He definitely appreciated when I completed projects just as he wanted them to be done.

  • I think this is hands down one of the most important tasks to keep in mind when wanting to succeed in your career. Communication is key, and in a few of my past jobs I’ve learned this the hard way. Two months ago I took a summer job working as the full time front desk lady in a chiropractic office. The boss only checked in with me every two weeks regarding statistics on new patients numbers and other criteria. But, I was assigned to work on planning a 200-300 person event in one months time. I had asked my boss three times to meet for lunch, on my own time, to discuss the proper steps to take while starting to plan the event. My boss didn’t list this as a “top priority” on his list to say the least, so I went off on my own and began to plan the event because I was already a week into my time period and it needed to be done. As an employee, I realized I should’ve sat down in his office and demanded this meeting needed to take place because the planning was scattered, and the results weren’t what they were looking for, because I hadn’t been informed about what was to take place.

    One small meeting such as this ruined the job for me; the lack of communication grew to be worse, the management was confusing, and our statistics took a plunge. We lost our teamwork ethic, and there wasn’t a chance of getting it back. I have always been involved in a team: whether it be sports, at home with my family, friends, and always in my career. I learned that you need to take extensive notes, and reiterate yourself a couple times to make sure the conversation is clear and understood by everyone who’s involved.

    Your site does an excellent job of laying out the needs in a clear bullet point list. I’m going to print that list out and make sure I have it handy for my next job, because sadly these issues could’ve been prevented.

  • I have had one job for the past three years since i turned sixteen. It may not seem like a huge job or an important one, but it was to me at the time and still is. I work at Caribou Coffee as a team member, but am hopefully being trained up to be a shift supervisor this summer.

    For the first year of my job I was terrified to ask my boss for feedback. She gave it regularly and would sometimes be good, great or down right horrible. I never knew if i was meeting her expectations and never knew exactly what she was thinking about my work performance.

    After a year of working there I had my yearly review and sat down with my boss and talked about my pros and cons or my work performance. I was strangely surprised that it wasn’t bad and that I actually grew from the interview. I knew what to do more of, what not to do, and what she wanted from me.

    Ever sense I have been randomly been having talks with her about what she expects from me and it has been easier for me to do my job right at work. I take time talking to my boss as a valuable thing that will help me in the future, and possibly make me a better boss someday when I want to move up in the company.

  • I believe feedback is an essential part of any job. Without this there might be issues that your boss has with you and you are unaware, and if you’re unaware you can’t fix it or improve. My last boss never gave me any feedback until it was time for annual reviews, then she would use this time to nitpick about everything, this caused much resentment. Now I have a wonderful new boss that makes it a habit to communicate and praise efforts, and she does a great job at communicating areas of improvement.

  • Feedback has been crucial to my growth at my company. It has opened the communication lines between my manager and myself and created an honest level of understanding between us. In order to receive consistent feedback, I have incorporated personal review as an item for discussion in our weekly one-on-one meetings every Monday that we use primarily to debrief on meetings from the past week and discuss work items and projects to tackle for the upcoming week. By soliciting frequent feedback and asking questions to clarify areas of potential misunderstanding, I ensure that we’re always on the same page and that I’m constantly working towards the standard of work that he expects of me. This has not only strengthened our professional relationship but it has also created a level of trust and camaraderie between us that makes it much easier to approach my manager with questions and requests.

  • I had some problems with this kind of thing when I first started working. My first ever job was just part time at a near-by country club that was always busy during the summer so it was important to get things tasks done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’d always work hard, but my boss would normally have to point something out to me, or let me know when I had to do something because I wasn’t used to either asking for feedback from him or start working on something before I was even asked.

    After a while I managed to get used to the way things operated and I was able to do the majority of work throughout the day without any oversight from my boss. By asking for advice before and after work I quickly found out the best ways to do various tasks and I was eventually able to anticipate what would be asked of me before anybody could even ask.

  • I was working for the Web Development and Marketing department of a corporation that happened to be my College and that was my first experience as a professional Web Developer. I found it very helpful to always ask for feedback from time to time to make sure I was producing the expected outcome. Every time that was not the case, my boss was always ready to make suggestions and provide very helpful feedback on time.

    This fact really helped both us to be very productive and trust each other until we reached a point where I was not required to attend the office every day. My boss could always email me the project and I could work remotely wherever I would like and complete the project on time. That was a great strategy beneficial to all of us.

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