You’ve probably heard about (or participated in) the ongoing debate about performance reviews. A number of studies and articles have made pro and con cases, with the debate almost always centered around two questions: Should we have them? Are they valuable?
But these questions aren’t really getting to the heart of the issue. If you really want a process that squarely focuses on employee development, I suggest we begin to ask a different question of both employees and employers.
How important is feedback to you?
I like feedback – you might say I crave it. I ask for it regularly and use it to help develop myself. I seek it at work, home and on the road with clients. I want to know what they think is effective and what is not working so well. I always believe there is room for improvement and I truly do not take it personally. One of my top 5 Clifton Strengthsfinder strengths is Learner – that plays a key role in my desire for feedback. Learners constantly want to focus on becoming better.
4 key ingredients
There are 4 key ingredients to successful, constructive feedback:
- A focus on development, not judgement
If you’re asking for feedback, what do you want to know – and more importantly, what will you do with the information once you have it?
Take me, for example. I seek feedback in all different aspects of my life – it does not vary by the person from whom I’m seeking it. I want character-strengthening feedback, because if I can improve upon that, it will make me better across the board.
That's why I want to know:
- How do I make people feel?
- Am I communicating in a way that I can be understood?
- Do I build trust?
- How do I manage conflict?
- In our relationship, what could I do better?
Those who know me, realize how important this is to me. I am grateful you take the time to regularly give me timely, honest and relevant feedback.
I would love to know: Do you value feedback? How do you seek it in your life, from your colleagues, families or clients? What questions do you ask?