As a manager, it’s not enough to give feedback to your direct reports. It’s also part of your job to solicit feedback from them. Still, it can be awkward to ask your employees to evaluate you. Here’s how to do it gracefully.
Start by telling your direct report that you’re open to feedback and want it. Explain to them that by giving you feedback, they’ll be helping you meet your goal of improving as a leader.
Next, diffuse any fear of retaliation by demonstrating humility and honesty. Try saying something like, “I know that it can feel uncomfortable to give feedback to your boss. I have the same hesitation when my boss asks me for feedback. Let me reassure you that I see your willingness to give me helpful, even negative feedback as one of your professional assets.”
Demonstrate self-awareness by giving yourself constructive feedback first, which can mitigate their fear of offending you or hurting your feelings. For example, you might say, “Others have shared with me that I can be slow and methodical in my work, often prioritizing accuracy over action.”
Finally, tell your direct report what you plan to do with the feedback they give you. Laying out a plan of action will help them trust that you want to implement their input.