Career Myths Vs Truths #7: You Need to Ask for Feedback
In our book, Don’t Dread Monday, we highlight ten career myths and their corresponding truths. This is the seventh blog post in which we explore these myths/truths more in-depth, as we continue to tackle how you can find true meaning and success in your career.
Career Myth #7: Someone will tell me if I am performing poorly or do not have a future
How comfortable do you feel giving true, open, and honest feedback? Think about the last time you gave someone your opinion about their work, actions, or any other aspect of their life. I’m guessing that the majority of you were uncomfortable criticizing another person, even if you had their best interest at heart.
Now apply that to the workplace. Though we believe our managers and higher-ups would tell us if we were doing poorly, the truth of it is they probably won’t. It’s easier to maintain the status quo than risk hurting someone’s feelings, or risking their anger.
Years ago, I was working with a Fortune 100 company. Every year the executives at the company would evaluate the Directors and Vice Presidents across countries as part of the global succession management process. For years these evaluations were not shared with the employees, but this particular year they were.
At this time I was giving a workshop on leadership in the workplace, and an employee from the Netherlands walked in, looking very upset. Turns out he had just learned from his evaluation that the senior management didn’t see him moving into any higher leadership role. I talked to him about his frustrations, asking if he would have rather never gotten this feedback. He eventually came to the conclusion that he was glad he received this assessment, as unwelcome as the news was, as it enabled him to know exactly where he stood in his job and decide where to go from there.
I’m glad that he was able to find clarity after our discussion, but the truth of the matter is he should have asked for feedback earlier. Like I said above, people are conflict-averse. You must take it upon yourself to ask for feedback from people you trust and be open to their observations and suggestions. You cannot grow without knowing how you are perceived and progressing.
But remember, the goal is never to please everyone. Instead, achieving sustained career success requires you to know what impact you are having on others—not necessarily to change what you are doing, but to know how to progress in alignment with your passions. So, with that being said, take this career truth and use it well:
Career Truth #7: Feedback won’t just happen; you’ve got to ask for it.
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