Fast Feedback for Managers

By: Bryan Ochalla

The best managers constantly seek out feedback. Here's some advice on how.

You talk to your direct reports on a regular basis, and none of them have raised concerns or complaints about your job performance. So you can go on in confidence that you're managing them well, right?

Well, maybe not. According to Scott Eblin, author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success, "The higher you rise in an organization, the less likely people are to tell you what's really going on." If you're an executive and you want to avoid blind spots about your organization's performance as well as your own, "You need to regularly ask for feedback."

Another reason to seek out feedback: By doing so, "You send a strong message about the kind of organization you want to lead—one that's collaborative, open to new ideas, and gets things done," Eblin says.

To establish that kind of atmosphere, the traditional yearly performance review isn't enough. It's outdated, Eblin says, and "Things move too fast for any feedback generated on an annual basis to be meaningful."

Instead, he suggests working to create a culture of continuous feedback within your organization "so positive behaviors can be reinforced and less productive behaviors can be corrected."

Once you start fielding that continuous feedback, "Don't debate it," Eblin says. "Take note of it and look for patterns around what you should keep doing and what you should do differently."

And don't be shy about the progress you're sure to make as a result. After all, Eblin says, the best way for executives to create a culture of continuous feedback is to "seek it out and then demonstrate that they're doing something with it."

Bryan Ochalla is a freelance writer based in Seattle. Email: [email protected]