How to Get Better Employee Feedback

Being a good leader means you have to receive feedback as well as you can as give it. You have to do more than just hand down judgment of your employees from a performance review. Real improvement for the team and yourself as a manager takes your dedicated efforts to seek feedback.

We’ve covered providing your employees the right constructive criticism, however now we are going to turn the table around and GET feedback from your team. You want their feedback in order to be a better leader and improve their performance too.

It just makes sense, right?

Some advantages of this approach include the opportunity to gauge the dynamics of your team, gain insight into your leadership abilities’ strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to measure your employee’s job satisfaction.

Managers have many responsibilities and sometimes you’ve got to use foresight to address a need before it escalates into an issue. However, you aren’t a mind reader. So you need to be like a detective to find the right feedback needed for improvement. Here are three ways to get that deep level of employee feedback.

Ask the right questions

Consider asking questions focused on who, what, when, where, why, and how. The questions you need to ask should not prompt basic “yes or no” responses. Ask open-ended questions that lead to a conversation about improvement. You’re not conducting an interrogation. If you’re not asking the right questions, you create a barrier to getting the needed feedback.

Be open to receive feedback

It is not enough for your team that you host an “open-door policy.” You need to be an open to the point where people are comfortable approaching you with their ideas or concerns. Now being an open leader also means learning from your employees. Employees will share so much with you when they’re comfortable and can see you put forth the effort to learn.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

Remember that scene from “A Few Good Men” in the courtroom? Yeah I’m talking about that scene-chewer with Jack Nicholson. Brace yourself in case the feedback you get back hits your pride like a ton of bricks.

For some managers, this is true and just one reason why 45% of U.S. employees are not being engaged at work, according to studies. You need to make it okay for employees to challenge your ideas too by fostering a culture of questioning. Improvement happens when a truthful word is shared rather than a sweet lie. Let iron sharpen iron—it can be an abrasive process, but you’re better for it in the end.

Seeking feedback is a simple process that will take an investment of your effort and time. When you engage in these three strategies, you will show your team that you are an engaged manager by your dedication to improving the work environment and seeking ways for change, and most importantly, you care about bringing out the best performance from them.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

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