Do you have any feedback for me?  

Do those 7 words scare you?  Maybe you are scared to get the answer, or you just forget to ask. Feedback may be hard to give and even harder to hear, but feedback is beneficial.

Whether you are a candidate or an employee, asking for feedback shows that you are a critical thinker who is looking to sharpen your skill set. Receiving feedback gives you first hand insight into how you are performing and progressing, and how you can fix any potential problems. Here are some ways you can ask for feedback, and how feedback can help you grow as a professional. 

 In Your Interview: At the end of your interview, do not be afraid to ask for the person’s feedback on you as a candidate. Asking the interviewer for feedback makes the interview a  two-way discussion and establishes you as a stronger candidate who wants to work on yourself as a professional. It also gives you the chance to fix any misconceptions the interviewer may have. Interviews can be nerve wracking and one wrong answer can eliminate you from the entire process. Asking for feedback gives you the chance to ensure you are presenting the most accurate information about yourself. This can be as simple as, “Do you have any concerns that would hinder me from moving forward in the process?” 

 In Your Job: There is a time and a place for everything, especially when to ask for feedback. 

For instance asking for feedback at the end of a hectic work day or a Friday afternoon at 4:30 may not be the best time. Start by asking your boss if he/she has 15 minutes to spare. Explain the reason that you want the meeting so he/she has time to prepare. When you meet, ask your boss if he/she is satisfied with the work that you are producing, and if there is any specific areas or tasks that you can improve in? A key is to avoid going into defense mode. Learn to not take things personally, but rather to look at his/her suggestions as stepping stones for your personal growth. 

As A Manager:  As a manager, feedback will help your organization grow and your team to run smoothly. Asking your employees for feedback can be done without triggering their anxieties by making feedback part of your normal routine. This can be accomplished by having employee-to-manager feedback meetings on a weekly or biweekly schedule which will help employees feel more comfortable expressing their true thoughts. Another point to keep in mind is that feedback should also be specific, tailoring the conversation toward one project, or one sales week or client; something tangible that can be improved. Establishing open communication with your employees will help them feel valued which will in turn make them want to be more productive in the workplace.

Feedback does not need to be awkward or need to scare you. It is actually a great way to improve productivity and results. Try incorporating asking for feedback into your work routine. Being specific and open with feedback will improve your skills as an employee, and your workplace as a manager.