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Can I ask my boss for feedback?

August 29, 2017

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

I loved your video How To Receive a Performance Review but my problem is that my boss hardly ever gives feedback like the boss in your video.  I never get any praise or criticism.  Once I managed to ask if a spreadsheet I gave her was what she wanted, and I just got a “Thanks, I’ll look.”  That was the extent of it. 


Is it OK to ask for more feedback?

Insecure Analyst


Dear Insecure,

You should definitely ask for feedback, but I’d recommend setting a specific time to talk with your manager rather than asking on the fly the way you did with the spreadsheet.  You should feel free to send an email requesting a time to catch up, but outline the topics you’d like to discuss.


Here’s a suggestion on what to ask for in the meeting:

  1. Specific feedback on the quality of your work on several projects—how you were helpful and what you could have done to make the work better.

  2. Specific feedback on your emotional intelligence- how others (managers, coworkers, clients, staff) perceive your style, and how well you adapt in different situations.

  3. Specific opportunities for you for the short and long term. 

Be persistent about getting time on her calendar.  And don’t forget to listen well, take notes, paraphrase what you’ve heard, and set a target date for your next feedback discussion. 


Good luck,
Someone Else’s Dad


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