Today’s insight: Tricks I use to get better feedback
But, honest feedback is pretty hard to get. I read a Harvard survey which found that 69% of managers were afraid of giving feedback to their direct reports (crazy, I know!).
Honest feedback is how we get better, both professionally and personally. If someone you respect tells you where your weaknesses are, you’ll know exactly what to improve to do better next time.
Why? People don’t want to be too critical of others, in general. They’re afraid their feedback might not be taken well so they rather just not give it.
So, how do you get honest feedback?
I’ll go through three hacks I use regularly. I don’t just use these in professional settings — I use them a ton in personal ones (e.g. with friends or family). So, hopefully you can apply these outside of work too!
1. “Rate it 1-10, but you can’t say 7″
Asking people for a rating out of 10 is a great way to see how they feel on something. But, the more you ask that question, the more you’ll notice that most people rate things as 7!
7 is an easy answer for people to choose, it’s almost a non-answer. When people rate things as 7, they’re saying it’s ‘okay’ without saying what they really think.
Whereas if they have to give something a 6 or an 8, they have to choose a side: 6 is barely passing and 8 is a strong endorsement.
Remember that easy tweak every time you ask someone to rate something between 1 and 10: “but you can’t say 7“.
2. “What’s one thing I can do to dramatically improve?”
Use this question, instead of generically asking for feedback. A similar good one is: “How could this have gone twice as well?”
Both these questions force people to think past generic feedback (“I liked it!”) and focus on giving you the most significant and meaningful piece of feedback to improve.
3. Ask for advice, not feedback.
Which of these are you more likely to respond to?
- Do you have any feedback on how I can improve…
- Could you give me some advice on how I can improve…
This is a small tweak, but studies have shown that framing your question as an ask for advice gets people to be more open and more willing to help.
You should create a habit around seeking out feedback — and being open to it (even if negative!).
No one really likes hearing criticism, but it’s an important part of your personal growth — your career will benefit from you going out of your way to get feedback!