Getting feedback is probably the best mechanism for personal growth and professional development; however, it's unlikely to be very helpful if the feedback we receive is too vague, too infrequent or focuses on the wrong things. Getting too much feedback is a rare problem, as studies have shown.
So, what’s the right amount of feedback? And how often should you ask for it?
Feedback satisfies three basic needs: appreciation, support & guidance, and clarity. The right amount of feedback is subjective, because everyone needs different amounts of it to get their needs satisfied. So, the perfect amount of feedback is the amount you need in order to perform, feel appreciated and understand how to improve.
When should you ask for feedback?
For feedback to be useful, constructive, and beneficial, it needs to come at the right time, and it needs to be clear, concise, and actionable. Personally and professionally, you should ask for feedback fairly often, especially if you are involved with a project and are hoping to learn and improve your craft.
Who should you ask for feedback?
Keep in mind that in all cases, feedback is only an opinion. When most people ask for feedback, they ask their boss, manager, or other such business types, but these people are constantly passing out feedback and only observing part of your work; although their input may be important, you should make a concerted effort to consult with other people you work with who may not be asked for their opinion as often.
The three types of feedback
There are three types of feedback; two of which can be helpful and constructive for your personal growth, and one that is mainly useful for identifying where you stand with your skills and performance, and possibly in comparison to others: The three types are reinforcing, redirecting, and evaluating feedback. Let’s briefly go over each type.
Reinforcing feedback is used to praise someone for the good work they’ve done, to show your appreciation or gratitude, and to reinforce their strengths. Redirecting feedback is used to communicate requests or suggestions and to help people identify areas for potential improvement – it’s this type of feedback that helps us learn and grow as human beings. The final type of feedback is evaluative feedback, which is used to rate someone or something in relation to an external standard.
When you are trying to develop and improve at something, it’s crucial that you ask for feedback, but try to ensure that you get mostly reinforcing and redirecting feedback. Try to avoid soliciting evaluative feedback as, in most cases, it isn’t very helpful.
If you want to become a master in any area of life, whether personal or professional, you need to ask for routine feedback, but it’s important that you receive the right sort of feedback. Our recommendation would be to actively seek out feedback every few weeks but at the very least around four times per year.
At the end of the day, feedback exists as a tool for your own expansion and development, so always keep those objectives in mind, and let feedback be the engine that takes you where you want to be in life.