The crucial asking for feedback etiquette rules. How to appropriately ask your manager to provide feedback about your performance.

What asking for feedback etiquette is

Asking for feedback etiquette is the set of rules to politely ask your manager to provide feedback about your performance. Such rules include:

  • How to make an appropriate request for feedback.
  • The behaviors to avoid.

As an employee, before asking your manager for feedback, follow these etiquette rules to make the right impression and build trust.

As a manager or an employer, promote asking for feedback etiquette to encourage your team to make mature requests and have positive career discussions.

rules for asking your manager for feedback

Asking for feedback: the etiquette rules

1) Asking for feedback is a positive message

When we ask for feedback, we make a positive statement. We state that we like our organization, that we intend to keep growing in it, and that we are ambitious and eager to contribute more. Furthermore, a request for feedback shows that we trust our managers and we value their opinion.

This is a very positive message to convey to our manager or employer. It means that, by giving us feedback and helping us grow, they help loyal members of their team to contribute even more. This is what we are selling. A benefit for ourselves and also the organization.

If you frame your request this way, its reception will be positive. It will be easier to enlist your manager as a supporter of your growth because it benefits the whole team. Try not to act entitled, like you believe that the feedback is owed to you or that it will surely be positive.

2) Choose the right time for asking for feedback

The effectiveness of your request largely depends on the timing. For example, it is best not to ask for feedback during a busy period, as your manager might not have enough time to focus.

Ask for feedback a few days or even a couple of weeks in advance. If you ask well in advance, your manager will have plenty of time to organize and fulfill your request. Ask for feedback in a private setting. Never ask for feedback in public, as you would put the manager in an embarrassing spot.

3) Be clear and appropriate when asking for feedback

Start by making your intentions clear. State what you need and would like to get. Make your request precise, with the exact topics that you wish the feedback to cover. Such as the quality of your work or your communication skills. Keep a positive tone of voice and positive body language.

Ideally, ask for feedback in person. Alternatively, you can ask it over the phone, via text messages or voice messages, or through email. After asking for feedback, it is polite to ask whether the manager has other suggestions in that regard. Such as an additional topic to discuss.

4) Explain the reasons behind your request for feedback

When asking for feedback, state the reasons behind your request. Showing the reasons for your request increases trust. Say why you think it is the right time and how you expect the feedback to benefit you

5) Allow the manager time to work on it

As an employee, it is perfectly appropriate to request feedback and discuss career progression. However, always allow your manager enough time to work on it. Your manager will need to think about your request and how to manage it.

6) Accept negative feedback

When managers give you negative feedback, you should respect their opinion.

Instead of arguing about it, ask the reasons behind the feedback. it is perfectly appropriate to ask managers to explain the reasons behind their feedback. The manager should provide some explanation based on objective facts and suggest a path toward improvement.

Giving negative feedback without providing any reason or path to improvement is impolite and incorrect. Similarly, negative feedback without any data or factual basis is inappropriate. If that happens, take it as a cue. It can signal that your manager might be toxic or that your relationship is strained. Consider asking human resources or another manager for support and advice.

7) Feedback is a process, agree on the next steps

Feedback is not a one-time event. Instead, it is part of a process. After receiving feedback, you should discuss with your managers what the next steps are. What do you need to improve and how should you do it? What are the expectations? How will you and your manager track improvement? What are the milestones?

Asking such questions signals that you took feedback positively and are committed to improving. It also enables you to ask your manager to support your growth.

8) Thank your manager after receiving feedback

Be grateful if someone gives you constructive feedback and recommends a path toward improvement. Thank them and show appreciation for their time.

asking for feedback etiquette mistakes

Asking for feedback etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst asking for feedback etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Not accepting negative feedback.
  • 8/10. Asking for feedback in public.
  • 7/10. Not thanking someone who gave you feedback.
  • 3/10. Asking for feedback on short notice.