Not Getting Any Feedback at Work? Seek it Out!

Not Getting Any Feedback at Work by Andrea Goeglein originally ran on a favorite site MsCareerGirl

Not Getting Any Feedback at Work?  Here’s How to Seek it Out!

Are you the kind of girl who gives 110% to a work project?   Do you expect your supervising managers will notice and acknowledge your effort?  Or are you the kind of girl who needed additional resources to complete a project and wondered why your VP did not come to you with a recommendation of how she could provide the needed assistance?  Or are you the kind of VP who cut many millions from your budget only to have your next budget cut by your SVP in the next fiscal quarter?  If you are that kind of girl, you are probably also the kind of girl who will quit without having the situation resolved.  Gallup reported this week that voluntary turnover (read: employees who quit) could cost U.S. companies 1 trillion dollars.

One trillion dollars saved could finance a lot of resources for a lot of new projects and probably stop a lot of existing employees from leaving.  If 52% of “the existing employees say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving,” it is time to find out what that “something” is and make it a part of a manager’s performance criteria.  For that to happen managers and leaders need to do better at inquiring about an employees’ job satisfaction throughout the course of a year.


Leaders of all forms need to stop using the ‘garbage can approach’ to annual reviews, using one time a year to cover all the good, the bad and the ugly.  Informal, but consistent, casual conversations focused on an employee’s personal satisfaction, and well-being about their job and the organization may go a long way in reducing unwanted employee exits.  When only 51% of existing employees had such a conversation in the 3 months before they left, there is a lot of room for leadership improvement.


Here is the really bad news. Whether or not you end up with a great manager or leader who values your satisfaction and well-being is outside your control.

Sure, managers and leaders can prevent these losses by checking in with their staff.  But the unhappy employee could also have also taken the responsibility to speak up, share feedback, and initiate the conversation about their job satisfaction. The problem is, as much as we think we want to be asked how we are and how we are doing, we really only want to report neutral to good information.  We know how to have a ‘Facebook’ conversation.

A ‘Facebook’ conversation is the equivalent of answering ‘fine’ when someone asks how you are.   More than one research study has shown we avoid feedback because we’re afraid of feedback and feedback does not work anyway. A recent Harvard Business Review cover went so far as to declare feedback a failure.  We don’t like getting feedback.  And we avoid delivering negative information because we don’t want to be seen as unsupportive of the organization’s goals.


Now for the very good news.  When 52 %of voluntary exits are leaving, they are not leaving because they did not get feedback.  They are leaving because they did not feel supported.  They, their satisfaction and well-being were systemically ignored.  Being ignored is something you can control and in so doing breakdown your fear of feedback.

You can take control and actually take the fear out of feedback and have the conversations you want to have with your managers by initiating the conversations yourself.  Here are five steps to getting started.

STEP 1: Know thyself

Knowing what brings you satisfaction and enhances your well-being and performance is an internal job.  Start by knowing your top strengths.  A quick trick to satisfaction on the job is making sure you get to use your top strengths at work.

STEP 2: Initiate it

Armed with the knowledge of your strengths, use them often in conversation with your manager.  Being specific such as, “I am really challenged with the project because I am not getting to use my natural leadership skills,” gives information she may be able to help correct.

STEP 3: Don’t wait

Don’t wait for your manager to come to you with criticism. Instead, set a personal calendar to initiate feedback sessions with peers and supervisors once a quarter.

STEP 4: Structure it

Tailor the session to something specific, like your work on the current project, your ability to collaborate within a team, or your capacity to think creatively. 

STEP 5: Acknowledge it

The key to making feedback sessions work is to acknowledge the advice, develop a plan to improve, and schedule a follow up to track your progress.

Remember the grass will not necessarily be greener at another organization because the same person (YOU) with the same habits will be mowing the grass.  No matter where you go your grass goes with you.  So consider adding a little fertilizer before you go looking for greener pastures

This guest post was authored by Dr. Andrea Goeglein

Often called a “Success Sherpa,” Andrea is the Founder of ServingSuccess and specializes in helping individuals, entrepreneurs, & CEOs reach their goals while increasing their levels of happiness, productivity, and satisfaction. She’s been interviewed by The Rachel Ray Show, CBS News, The Huffington Post, Forbes,  and many others.

Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.


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About the author

Andrea Goeglein is part organizational psychologist, part entrepreneur, and all about success—your success. She understands both the pressures you face and the dreams that inspire you. Andrea merges her experience as a business owner with her training in Positive Psychology to provide effective, efficient and challenging personal development products and services. She combines an emphasis on objective assessment with an approach that is always powered by your spirit and guided by your goals. Her professional development offerings are based in theory and backed by direct business knowledge.

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