How to ask for feedback that is measurable and will help you improve

If you’ve ever had a manager or boss give you feedback that was vague, abstract, or ambiguous, you’re not alone. It is common for me to hear a client say some version of this statement, “I got through it so I guess it went ok.” How do you improve your communication if you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t? It is very challenging if not impossible to make improvements in the absences of concrete suggestions that are measurable. Generic feedback (like “good job”) gets us nowhere fast. When you request feedback, invite the person to be specific. The clearer you are in communicating your expectations, the more comfortable he or she will likely feel in providing direct feedback. End by thanking her or him for being candid, and say that you will circle back (propose a timeline) to follow up on how well you are implementing her suggestions.

The next time you ask for feedback from a boss, colleague or teacher, include these 3 requests in your “ask”:

“I’d like specific feedback on my performance this quarter.

Please tell me what is working well, and one or two suggestions I can improve upon.

The more specific, the better. Details help me create goals for myself.”