“When we make progress and get better at something, it is inherently motivating. In order for people to make progress, they have to get feedback and information on how they are doing.”

– Daniel H. Pink

If you have a growth mindset, you are probably looking for useful feedback from your manager on your performance. This approach can be difficult especially if your manager is someone who always says, “Just keep doing what you’re doing”, or, “You’re doing great”, or if they are a “no news is good news” type of person.

If your go-to question for getting feedback is to ask “How am I going?” or “Could you please provide me with feedback on my current performance?”, maybe it’s time to frame the problem differently.

Rather than ask, “How am I doing?”, or, “Could you provide feedback on my performance” perhaps its time for a different approach. Maybe it’s time to ask different questions.

Pick a task you recently completed or an issue you have freshly tackled and take your manager through your approach. Preface the conversation by telling your manager that you’d like to take him or her through your thought process and get some ideas on how it could have been approached differently and to validate your thinking on the matter. Then get into specifics.

In whatever level of detail you consider appropriate for your feedback needs, start by outlining the issue or task, what you were aiming to achieve, your decision making processes, what stakeholders you engaged, what resources you called on, and what obstacles you faced and how you overcame them. You may also like to describe what is still need to do.

As you go through this process invite your manager to ask questions and provide comment on the specific details as you cover them. By doing so, you take control of your performance conversation and remove it from the realms of the general and into the specific areas that you find useful. You also provide insight to your manager on how you think and what your strengths are. Finally, you may find some areas where you require development and can provide useful evidence to your manager to support you in that development.