Upward performance feedback

Performance reviews are typically carried out by managers to their employees. We rate our subordinates’ performance and give them our feedback on where and how they should improve. But why don’t they rate ours?

Most times we avoid asking for feedback because we worry it will hurt us. This is why we need to recognise that it is hard to hear tough feedback.

We might be good at self-awareness and are able to understand our strengths and weaknesses thoroughly. However, there are always blind spots which we might not be aware of. Employees’ insight on this might be useful for us.

Asking employees for feedback about your performance, as a manager, is valuable to both you on a personal and professional level. Consequently, it will bring value and great benefits to your team, and the overall organisation.

Should feedback be anonymous?

We can ask for feedback either directly or anonymously:

  1. This can be done during their performance appraisals. However, asking for feedback on a regular basis, through one-to-one meetings may be more effective.
  2. Understandably, some employees may be hesitant to give their perspective on how well you perform. This hesitance may take a while to change. This is when managers should opt to obtain feedback and thoughts anonymously. This can be done through surveys and other feedback platforms.

Critical points for success

There are a few points that as a manager you should remember:

  1. Remember that you might not always receive honest feedback. Sometimes you may need to read between the lines. This is also why you should not rely on one source for feedback.  Ask for feedback from all of your team and listen with an open-mind. You may wish to start the process by listening to people who you know you can truly trust.
  2. Respond to the feedback you receive. This means that you should act on it and advise the employee on how you seek to improve or change. You don’t want your employees to feel that giving you feedback is a waste of time. You want them to feel that their input has been well recognised.
  3. Sitting for your employees to come give you feedback might never happen. Creating opportunities and a platform for them to feel comfortable to give us feedback is very important. We should be reaching out to them to give us this feedback. You need to start by approaching them yourselves. Anonymous feedback may be the best option to start off with, especially if providing feedback is not part of the organisation culture.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over sixteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.