Have you ever felt frustrated not knowing what you could be doing wrong or if there is a better way to go about your work, life or actions? Well, you are not alone!
Especially over the last couple of months when many organizations have been laying off employees or doubling down on recruitment activities, I couldn’t stop imagining how frustrating it can be for job seekers now dealing with double the amount of the standard generic rejection messages.
Even for those who have been fortunate to have found jobs during this period (congratulations), or still working for a company like Siemens that is now providing employees with flexible options like the opportunity to work from anywhere or take up short-time working (Kurzarbeit), you might still not be entirely immune from this kind of frustrations. As George Bradt & Mary Vonnegut pointed out in their book titled: Onboarding, how to get new employees up to speed in half the time:
“When a person takes on a new role, there is a risk that he or she will be misaligned with the organization.. And unclear or misaligned expectations and resources are some of the main causes of new employees failure to deliver.
Compound this with the fall-out of the Covid-19 pandemic, where many professionals have had to suddenly take up new roles, adapt to new ways of working or continue their job search under much more challenging circumstances. For me, the experience has been unprecedented! And it was during this period that I began to really internalize and find extra value from one of life’s most valuable skill set:
Asking for, Receiving and Using Feedback.
In this article, I shared below two reasons why we need more feedback, and how we can use more of it under the current “new normal”.
1. “If you don’t know how well you are performing, how can you possibly get better?.” – John Doerr
On a professional level, my first experience with the concept started just about a couple of years ago. Quite frankly, the first time I did ask for and received feedback from colleagues about my work, it was not so easy (to accept it). As you might rightly guess, it wasn’t all positive, and my first reaction was disavowal!
I think that being humans, we have been mostly wired to appreciate feedback when it is positive or suit our expectation. Unfortunately, not all feedback is going to be positive. Hence, we have to learn (I am still learning too) to take and use them as best as possible for personal and professional development.
As a job seeker, I can also recollect another episode which took place some years ago when I applied for an advertised position. Although, I had received the recommendation of the CEO of the company to apply for this particular position, I eventually got rejected after undergoing a skype interview with the hiring manager. I was frustrated at the outcome of the interview. But after a couple of days, I wrote to the hiring manager to thank him for the opportunity and requested for some feedback about the areas where I fell short of his expectations to enable me to improve myself for future opportunities. He was very kind to respond to my email and wrote back saying:
“Actually I have to say I do not think you did anything wrong. After our interview, you were still an applicant that we had on an extended shortlist. The main reason we did not invite you to the follow-up interview was to do with the strengths of the other applicants.
At the end of the day, outside the conventional interview process, asking for feedback provided me the chance to understand his expectations and eventually address them. And after a couple of email exchanges between both of us, I was offered another role within the company.
2. With the pace of change in today’s world, if you aren’t making a conscious effort to Get Better, you are not just standing still, you are getting farther behind” – Stephen M. R. Covey
Under the “new normal”, the ability to always ask for and use feedback could be very critical for professional success. Particularly in situations where we now have to mostly depend on several online communication tools, it has become much more challenging to gain the needed context as well as understanding expectations.
Almost all conflict is a result of violated expectation – Blaine Lee
Zoom, Circuit, Google Hangout, Microsoft team video meetings have been great so far. But regardless of the advantages they currently provide, it is my opinion that they cannot directly substitute all the benefits and provide for all the details that a physical working relationship can account for.
It is with such an understanding that asking for and using feedback at every opportunity can become an effective way to not only clarify expectations, but help reach better alignment between colleagues as well as potential employers and employees in an increasingly virtual world.