Self-feedback first?

Do you want honest, useful feedback to help improve your performance, presentation, assignment, etc.? Not applause to tell you how great you are, but advice that will actually lead you to the outcome you’re hoping for? One way to get it might be to evaluate yourself first, and to be critical when you do.

This month’s issue of Wharton professor Adam Grant’s newsletter suggests that you preface your request for feedback by acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses. It’s a technique he’s used with his students, and witnessed in one of the most successful executives in tech.

“I’ve watched Sheryl Sandberg [COO of Facebook] do this so effectively. As she became more senior in her career, she noticed that people were more reluctant to criticize her. So she started opening meetings by talking about what she was working on. A common one: ‘I know I can speak too much in meetings—please tell me if I am.’ Suddenly her colleagues felt safe giving that feedback, because she asked for it. And after the meeting, she followed up to get more feedback.”