3 Ways to Get People to Criticise Your Product Management Skills and Increase Your Value
Giving constructive feedback is hard because givers risk hurting people’s feelings. It’s scary because if it’s taken personally the giver risks retaliation. It also takes effort and thought. It’s much nicer to give compliments, keep up good vibes and save the energy for more interesting, personal endeavours. So, asking for such a favour with little effort from your side likely won’t work and you’ll get the classic «you’re doing great, keep it up».
(1) Be brave, make the first move. If you’re asking for feedback from a person it likely means that you respect their opinion and the way they behave. You probably trust their good judgement in challenging situations. So, leading the way and giving them constructive feedback probably won’t result in negative consequences. What you’re likely to get is genuine thanks for your effort to notice their shortfalls, formulate them into words and deliver the message. By making the first move, you’re showing them the way to return a very valuable favour.
(2) Show an example of your reaction to feedback. Pair up with a colleague you trust and give each other feedback in front of the people you hope to get feedback from. People fear giving feedback because they may get a negative reaction. Debunk their hypotheses by showing people what they can expect to see — grace, understanding and thanks. Never explain your shortfalls away, people are not signing up to hear your explanations. This works, I’ve tried it. Not only does it create a strong feedback loop for you but it also creates a culture of psychological safety, collaboration and innovation for the whole team.
(3) Start with your own critical observations and get feedback on them Looking for constructive feedback means you’ve already started a process of introspection and self-awareness. If you feel like something didn’t go so well in a situation, you’re probably right. Take this situation and ask your colleague specifically about it, whether it was a good way to act or if it would have been better to act in [this specific way]. Bonus points if they were in the situation with you. By acting quickly you’re showing that you’re self-aware and reasonable. By proposing an alternative on which you want to get feedback, you’re showing that you’re putting in the effort, instead of outsourcing it to them.
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