Time is limited and that’s typically the reason managers use to avoid scheduling feedback meetings. Many tend to wait until they feel the need to address your performance and others get trapped sitting in back-to-backs with no deliverable or decision to make. There are plenty reasons out there but this article provides 5 tips to help employees get routine feedback meetings scheduled.
Know What You Need
In other words, what is the specific area you need feedback for? We tend to know our area of concern because we’re likely critiquing it ourselves. Whatever that may be is what you should be asking about. Use those areas as the topics of your agenda – not having a clear topic of discussion (or an agenda at all, for the matter) can make the meeting less attractive.
Now that you have identified your 1-2 most critical feedback needs, prepare specific questions for each topic – and include them on the agenda if you can. This adds more context to the need for the meeting and tells the manager what to prepare for.
For the busy, busy, busy manager. Familiarize yourself with your manager’s availability so you can recommend a meeting in advance that’s not overwhelming. This may mean snagging a small pocket of time multiple days out and leaning on others to support you until then.
Speaking of small pockets of time, how could you make the timing less overwhelming?
A good method to follow is – when less do more, when more do less. Say that five times fast, haha. Meaning the less frequent the meeting, the more time should be invested and vice versa. For example, a weekly meeting may only need to be 15-30 minutes but a monthly meeting should aim for 30-60 minutes. The idea is simple and could be easier for them to maintain.
Formal meetings don’t fit every managers style. Being creative and flexible with when to meet, and where to meet, could work in your favor. For example, ask some pointed questions as you chat with them by the coffee machine or be willing to take 5-10 focused minutes at various times of the day. In either scenario, you will need to have the first and second tips from above, concisely ready to go.
Another way to get feedback from your manager is to cut straight to the chase. Tell them you are not getting enough feedback from them. Yup. In some cases, being direct is the only way to go. Of course be sure that this approach will work well for you but bringing awareness to the need can be game-changing. If you choose to use this advice the heart of it should derive from a need for clarity, alignment, and being productive in the right areas – any great leader can get on board with that.
If the verbally direct route doesn’t fit your relationship, throw it on their calendar without waiting for them to initiate. If you see a time, take it!
Bonus tip: Here’s one for the road! When you get that feedback meeting – I believe you will – agree on a day and time to follow-up before the meeting ends. Try prefacing this by saying “So we can circle back on progress let’s touch base again…” and transition to “I see you have an opening on…”. This typically works and is harder to object.
Wait, what is that? I’m picking up some feedback from that microphone.