Dealing with Young & Ambitious Employees Who Clamor for More Feedback and Responsibilities
Updated: Nov 4
Last Thursday, I gave a talk on today’s workplace feedback scene and how young and ambitious workers (& a lot of other people) are starving for feedback in their job roles. In the discussion that followed, feedback-hungry millennials in the audience told personal stories that verified their pain and longing for feedback. And perplexed bosses expressed their struggles with offering enough feedback and development.
As real-time, real-life examples emerged, my sense of urgency grew. I had completed The Feedback Imperative two years ago, and had since been concentrating on helping a few companies transform themselves into feedback rock stars. We were no longer dealing with the everyday pain that comes from the absence of feedback.
But at this conference, I got back into the emotions of the feedback problem that exists in 95+% organizations today. I wanted to shout out the feedback message from the rooftop!
A couple of questions that kind of lined up:
Q: I am pretty new at my job (from a twenty-something) and my boss is telling me I’m doing a great job. But I want more feedback and I want to do more and offer more. What should I do?
Q: I manage millennials. A couple of them are constantly asking for more feedback. I’m busy and don’t have time for all of this. What should I do?
A: (Meant for both) If the person requesting feedback is NOT actually meeting their goals and doing a great job, their boss should talk to them frequently to clarify their expectations and coach them on what is and isn’t working. The two should discuss specific plans for improvement and track progress every couple days. If you are the direct report and you sense something is weird, you should keep asking for feedback.
If the person requesting feedback IS doing a great job–which I believe was the situation for those attending my session, the boss needs to deputize them as biz partners in your group! Talk to them, meet with them, and explain the bigger picture. Ask for their ideas and involvement. How can your team build the business, improve customer care, save money, innovate?
These pesky feedback and development seekers want to help your business be amazing. Why wouldn’t you want to enroll them? And if they’re no-good, lazy people who just want to be patted on the back, they need detailed and honest feedback. If they leave, they leave. (And they’ll finally learn down the road.)
If you are the employee and your boss just doesn’t get it, you need to run for the exit (as many talented star have been doing) and find a boss and/or a company who does know how to use you to advantage.
In all situations, feedback is awesome!