To Get Candid Feedback, Ask for It

Getting honest, useful feedback is the fastest route to better performance. But people are sometimes too nice to share the full picture or too intimidated to be fully truthful. You need to be clear that you want honest feedback. If you say, “Don’t be nice, be helpful,” people will be less likely to hold back. Instead of asking what you did wrong, ask what you can do better going forward. Try not to judge any feedback you receive, whether it’s positive or negative. Just thank people for being honest with you and let them know that you find their observations and opinions helpful. Try to write down what they say. A little silence communicates that you’re taking feedback seriously, and it gives people time to think about what else they might add. And don’t just ask once. Give people multiple opportunities to give you real feedback.

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