How to ask your team for feedback

Many managers I coach complain that they can’t get quality feedback from their team.

They ask for it and either get vague replies that don’t contain anything useful, a download of every annoying thing they do or nothing.

Some organisations try to get around this through the use of 360 degree feedback questionnaires. You pick people above, below and beside you on the organisational chart to give anonymous feedback that is collated into 15+ page report for you to make sense of.

It can give you some extremely valuable insights especially if you get a good number of responses but not every manager has access to them.

And there is an easier way.

In your next one to one with your team pick one or two of these questions to ask:

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  • Where do you need my support the most?
  • Where do you need more/less involvement from me?
  • If you were the manager of this team what’s the first thing you’d do?
  • What things do you see me doing that you think I shouldn’t be spending my time on?
  • Where do you think I should be spending more time?
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These sorts of questions work for three reasons:

1.  They’re asking for feedback on something specific

One of the reasons that managers don’t get good quality feedback from their team is because they ask closed, broad question like, “Do you have any feedback for me?”

This kind of question almost always gets a “no” response because who wants to give the boss feedback? And when asked out of the blue it puts your team member on the spot.

? Top tip: Tell your team member what you’re going to ask before your catch-up so they can have a think about their answer.

2. They sound like you’re asking for advice

And everyone loves giving advice.

3. They make it safe to give feedback

The questions are framed positively so your team members can tell you what frustrates them about your management style without having to directly challenge you.

 

By asking for and listening to the feedback you are also contributing to psychological safety in your team because you’re demonstrating that you know you aren’t perfect and you’re inviting your team members to help with your development.

It’s a lot easier to take difficult feedback from someone who comes to you and asks for it for themselves.

So, which question are you going to try in your next one to one?

What other questions would you add to the list?

 

Email me on [email protected] and let me know.

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