I hear it all the time in my coaching calls: I don’t know what I need to do to grow in my workplace, to get promoted, or to improve my workflow. I’ve been to countless meetings with executives and superiors, and nothing seems helpful. 

Statistics show that women are more likely than men to get less specific feedback for a variety of reasons. Most of them involve a bias, like a female’s perceived inability to handle criticism, for example. But sugar-coated criticism, or feedback that’s vague or overly positive, is not just a female-centric problem; it can be received by - and be detrimental to - anyone in a corporate setting. 

Ineffective, generic feedback can stunt growth and even result in good, ambitious people being passed over for promotions. So, it’s important for those looking to climb the corporate ladder to learn to ask for specific, personalized feedback that can help them achieve their goals. But it’s more complicated than it sounds. Asking leaders to clarify their comments or pushing them for more detailed feedback can often be daunting. 

I’m a big believer in the idea that no one cares about your career as much as you do. It’s not your boss’ job to come and spoon-feed you the exact tools and feedback you need for career growth. It’s up to you to go ask for it. Most people are scared of feedback, so don't expect people to come and bring it to you. 

It’s time to take the driver’s seat. Toss out the idea that no news is good news. 

This happened with a recent client who came to me upset about being passed up for a promotion in favor of someone who had been with the company for less time. She couldn’t figure out why she was overlooked and wasn’t sure where to go next. Together, we co-created questions to ask her leaders. The process offered her invaluable insights and the specific feedback she needed to focus and further her development. The exercise also re-energized her in her current role, and stopped her from looking for new opportunities outside of the company. 

If you’re ready to take control of your career and capture the precise, constructive feedback you most need from your leaders, here three questions you can try:  

“Can you provide me with specific examples of where you’ve seen my strongest contributions?” This question will encourage your leader to reflect on your specific achievements they deem important to the team and/or the organization. 

"What are the specific areas you believe I need to improve to better contribute to our team?” As a counter balance to the question above, this will cue up your leader to consider the points of growth that will help you amplify your impact on the team.

“In your opinion, what are the key skills or competencies I should develop to be considered for [a specific role or promotion]?” Such future-focused feedback allows you to seek actional and goal-oriented feedback from your leader. At the same time, it clarifies your career aspirations.  

My programs - from the 360 assessment to the Zoom calls to customized plans - can help you ask the right questions and get the feedback you need in order to succeed. Book an exploratory call today to get started.