The Monday Mover

Delivering high-impact career tips every Monday morning. 

TMM #004: 3 feedback mistakes that kill your career

Jul 05, 2022

Career success is part growth, part professional branding. The growth comes from understanding why some things don't work, and the professional branding comes from consistently delivering value. 

If you don't spend time actively asking for feedback and analyzing how you can improve, your career will likely never take off.

To give you a jump start, here are 3 common feedback mistakes, and what to do instead. 

Let's jump in. 

Mistake #1. You expect others to just give you feedback 

Most organizations have a feedback loop built into their annual performance review.

Most effective managers have regular 1:1's to check in.

If you're waiting for these, then you've missed the boat.

You are responsible for taking control of your own learning journey. There is nothing better than real time direct feedback. 

Here are 4 simple ways to be proactive:

1. Weave it seamlessly into the conversation once you've developed a report. A simple, "I really  enjoy working with you and would love to continue to grow professionally. Where could I continue to develop, so that I can make sure I'm ready when an opportunity arises?" If you're feeling bold, add "Please keep me in mind if you see an opportunity that aligns with my skillset." 

2. Ask for it. This could be your boss, your stakeholder, a colleague. Elevate your request by asking for a "strategic thought partner" on a project or item you're working on. It's a 2:1. You're cultivating a relationship and usually end up with a better output.  

3. Find a mentor or coach outside your team. This allows you to have radically honest conversations without the politics of perception. 

4. Identify your preferred method for feedback and ask your leader to support. Managers are on their own learning journey too. We need to create space to allow them to learn how/when to give useful feedback. 

Mistake #2. You react poorly when feedback is given 

Now that you've asked for feedback, how you react is a game changer. 

Giving and receiving feedback is trust building. When you ask for it, you're letting the other person know you value their insights and opinions. 

The absolute worst thing you can do is criticize their feedback. Don't attempt to use it as an opportunity to explain why you were right in the first place.

Bad reactions kill good relationships. Any trust you cultivated has gone up in flames, plus it's annoying.

Here's what to do instead:

1. Get really clear on your motivations for feedback. Get your mindset right. Be open.

2. Help the other person provide value-add feedback by being very specific in your request. A colleague once told me, "Ask me for my opinion and I'll have one." Sometimes general feedback is great, other times specificity is desired. 

3. If you can't react graciously, then now is not the time to solicit feedback. It's better to not ask, then get defensive.  

Mistake #3. You wait until your work product is finished

Picture this: 

You have a new project and you really want to do a good job. You run off and work really hard on it. When you're done, you share the final product. It misses the mark entirely and you have to start over. You're deflated and you've wasted a bunch of time. 

You can avoid all of this by simply sharing early drafts of your work for quick iteration and feedback. Have the confidence in your self to be imperfect. 

You'll save time.

You'll deliver better value.  


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