🚀 Breathe.


How to Ask For Feedback in a Professional Setting

Asking for feedback can be daunting, especially if you’re worried it's not positive. These tips can help you request and receive feedback.

By Fellow.app  •   June 21, 2022  •   8 min read

Next week marks a big anniversary at your new job – congratulations! It’s an exciting milestone, and it’s also the perfect time to check in on how your team thinks you’re doing. Receiving feedback from the people around you can detail exactly where you’re at and where you should go next. Read on to learn how to ask for feedback from your teammates in a professional setting.  

How to ask for feedback in 8 steps

Follow these steps to ask your co-workers or managers for feedback. And above all: Be kind. That doesn’t really need explanation – you know how to do that.

1Remember your goals 

What are you hoping for when you ask for feedback? Chances are you want honest feedback on what you’re doing well and how you can improve. Or maybe you only want to know what your team thinks of your approach on a certain project, not all your work. Know that goal going in and be clear about it when you ask for feedback. You can do so whether you’re seeking feedback informally or sitting down for a performance review.

“Constructive feedback is crucial in performance reviews, but remember that the goal of performance reviews is not to unload *every* piece of feedback on your report,” says Mariah Driver, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Webflow. “The goal is to improve their performance and chances of success.” You can keep Driver’s advice in mind whether you’re seeking feedback or providing it.

Give and get feedback as work happens

A healthy and strong culture starts with feedback. Fellow enables your team to share real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and performance.

2Ask the right people

The most effective feedback will come from someone who’s seen your work. For example, think of a few people you interact with regularly, whether they’re a level above or below you. These folks probably know your work pretty well. So ask them for their input! 

Besides asking your team for feedback, you could also receive regular feedback from your clients. This way, you’ll get some perspective on how you can help them in the future. This mindset applies to customers too if you sell products instead of services. You can send your customers surveys via email or social media to make things seem less-high stakes. Plus, surveys are typically anonymous, so people might really speak their minds. 

3Learn to ask the right questions

You need to ask the right questions to get back proper feedback. Before a performance review, you should spend some time identifying areas where you struggle and ask questions based on that. There are three different types of questions you can ask when seeking feedback.

  1. Open-ended questions. When someone asks an open-ended question, they’re not asking for a “yes” or a “no.” They’re typically looking for a detailed response. For example, you could ask your manager, “In what ways can I improve my performance?”
  2. Yes-or-no questions. You can ask these questions when you have a hunch about something and you’re looking for a straightforward answer. These questions can be along the lines of, “Did I do this process correctly?” Or you could say, “Do you like this idea for my project this week?”
  3. Follow-up questions. No matter the shape your feedback meeting takes, you should always make time to ask follow-up questions. For example, if you and a coworker are discussing how you can improve, you could ask, “What steps would you recommend I take?”

4Schedule feedback around your coworkers’ time 

When a teammate is willing to take time out of their day to give you feedback, you should work around their schedule. When you ask someone for feedback, you should also ask what days and times work best for them. You should ask roughly a week in advance so they can prepare for the meeting and have enough time to assess your work performance. This helps them prepare and signals that you respect their time.

5Take plenty of notes

When you meet with someone to get feedback from them, make sure you have a way to take notes. That could be a notepad and a pencil, or it could be a digital notepad like Fellow’s Streams tool. By coming prepared like this, you show others that you’ll be taking serious note of what they’ll say. You also give yourself something to look back on in the future. 

6Reflect on the future

Valuable feedback is only valuable if you reflect on it and use it to improve your work performance. That’s why, after you get feedback, you should set aside some time to reflect on what you heard. What can you work on? What feedback feels the most pressing? Is there anything you disagree with? Once you’ve taken some time to reflect, you can set some new goals.

7Make a plan 

With plenty of notes and time spent reflecting, you’re ready to make some big changes. To start, you should make a step-by-step plan that outlines how you’ll improve. For example, a co-worker might suggest having fewer distractions during your day. Your plan could include keeping your phone off your desk from 8 a.m. until noon, then taking a phone break. 

8Continue to ask for more feedback 

Most organizations hold meetings to review team member performance, but you can ask for feedback at any time. And you don’t need to hold a meeting, whether virtual or face-to-face, every time you need feedback. You can simply ask for feedback through an app like Fellow, which includes 360 feedback tools. Ask for feedback once every month or two, and you’ll likely do better work – and have better working relationships with your teammates.

How to receive feedback in a professional setting

Constructive criticism can sting a bit. Here are some tips on how to accept it – and act on it – in a positive manner. 

1Keep an open mind

Your teammates will presumably share feedback to help you grow, not to tear you down. So if someone gives you negative feedback, take it as a compliment – someone is taking the time to help you be your best self! Instead of getting defensive, use your feedback as a growing point. Doing so can be a bit difficult at first, but acting on feedback rather than pushing it away is how you do better.

2View feedback with a growth mindset 

A growth mindset is the notion that someone is sharing negative feedback with you to help you reach your full potential. It’s exactly the way you should react to feedback. Conversely, a fixed mindset will lead to you see negative feedback as a personal attack on your self-worth. It’s the difference between saying “I’m fine already, thanks” and saying “You’re right – this is a great way for me to change. I appreciate you taking the time to point that out!” 

3Assume good intentions 

Before you get feedback, you should silence your anxieties about someone being mean instead of helpful. If anything, most people have good intentions – the team member you speak with might suggest improvements and give you good feedback. Assuming the best in someone can help you feel more confident in your feedback requests and thus your work. It’s an all-around great way to boost employee productivity

4Don’t take it personally

The feedback process won’t always leave you showered in praise, but it will show you how to improve. If your feedback winds up mostly negative, know that nobody’s here to attack you – they’re here to pave a path. Your manager or teammates aren’t judging you as a person – they’re providing insights to help you succeed. And if you’re feeling like the feedback is a little harsh, you can kindly ask to stop and come back later. 

The benefits of asking for feedback

Asking for feedback can benefit you for a number of reasons. It’s great for your work, but it’s also great for you as a person – both in and outside the office (or Slack or Zoom). Below are some reasons to ask for feedback. 

1It shows maturity

Asking for feedback doesn’t come easy for everyone. If anything, it takes a strong-willed person to admit they aren’t perfect. It’s pretty mature to listen to what your teammates have to say about you and act on it. Doing so shows that you can own up to your flaws too.

2It increases your confidence

Alongside negative feedback, positive feedback is vital for managers and team members to provide too. A pat on the back (okay, a metaphorical one) will help just about anyone feel more confident at work. Maybe you’ll hear only great things when you ask for feedback – but you have to ask to find out for sure.

3It improves performance

When you get feedback that shows the other person cares about you and wants you to succeed, chances are you’ll work harder to get there. Think about it like this: If you know your efforts are valued, wouldn’t you want to go the extra mile? 

4It develops a healthy dialogue

Scheduling feedback on a regular basis can help you develop better relationships at work. If you take feedback and act on it, you might be more likely to hit your marks and get more feedback – but praise, not criticism. And if you put in the time to work on improving yourself, the person giving you feedback might work harder to help you keep growing.  

5It could put you in line for a promotion 

Your team members aren’t the only ones who notice your performance. If you use what your clients and manager say to improve your performance, you could start reaching your goals sooner than later. Keep it up, and you could get promoted. While a promotion shouldn’t be your final goal at work, it’s obviously nice to earn more money. 

6It gives you the opportunity to learn from colleagues

When you get feedback from several perspectives, you can learn all kinds of things. For example, a team member a level above you might have great advice about what you should change to get where they’ve gone. Or a teammate might have suggestions for how you can more easily communicate what you need from them. Requesting feedback leads to all sorts of learning opportunities you can implement into your own plan. 

Free feedback meeting agenda templates

Ask for feedback with Fellow

Figuring out what to ask during feedback meetings, remembering all the feedback your teammates give you – it can all be a bit chaotic. But you don’t have to do it alone – Fellow can help. With Fellow, you can build a collaborative agenda for your next feedback meeting. You can then ask for – and receive – the feedback you need. And best of all, you can do it all under one roof – and so can your teammates.

  • shopfiy
  • uber
  • stanford university
  • survey monkey
  • arkose labs
  • getaround
  • motorola
  • university of michigan
  • webflow
  • gong
  • time doctor
  • top hat
  • global fashion group
  • 2U
  • lemonade
  • solace
  • motive
  • fanatics
  • gamesight
  • Vidyard Logo