How To Ask For Feedback From Your Manager

6 Tips for Requesting Feedback from Your Manager

If your boss doesn’t give you feedback, it’s important to know how to ask for feedback from your manager.

At first, it will seem like your boss is extremely pleasant to work with, but as time goes by you’ll start to realize that the only feedback you’ve received is “good job” and other vaguely positive comments one would give to a pet.

You’ll start to get the feeling you’ve done some things wrong, but you’re not sure what, exactly.

You’ll never know where you stand, and you won’t be given an opportunity to learn or grow. Eventually, you might stall, get fired, or quit. This is why requesting feedback from your manager is something everyone needs to know how to do.

We received this related question from a reader about how to seek specific feedback from their boss:

I’ve been in my current position for less than 6 months, and things have been going pretty well. But I find that there are a lot more things that I could be doing but don’t have the time for, and I’m not sure how others think I’m doing in my role. I’ve asked my boss how I’m doing, but I only get positive responses like, “Yeah, you’re doing great. We’re glad you’re here!” I know I’m not doing everything perfectly — how can I get my boss to open up and tell me what I need to do better?

— Doing great but wanting to improve

Here’s how to ask for feedback from your manager

how to ask for feedback from your manager

When deciding how to ask for feedback from your manager, keep a few things in mind. Do you like giving feedback? If you’re like most people, the answer to that is a resounding NO. Most people dread giving feedback, even if doing so is important for their relationships and a part of their job.

Odds are, your boss is like most people and dreads giving you feedback, even though that feedback will help you get better at your job and help you grow in your career.

And the fact that your boss dreads giving you feedback doesn’t necessarily mean that your boss doesn’t care about helping you get better at your job or helping you grow in your career.

It’s just that for most of us giving praise feels patronizing and giving criticism feels mean. Almost nobody wants to feel like they’re being patronizing or mean. So almost everybody avoids giving feedback — even when giving feedback is their job.

Ok, so how do I ask for feedback from my manager?

When requesting feedback from your manager, make it EASY for your boss to give you feedback. There’s nothing inherently hierarchical about giving feedback, so many of the tips we have for bosses on getting feedback from their teams are also applicable to you!

Specifically, check out tips 1-4 in that article for how to ask for feedback from your manager examples.

Here are some additional techniques for requesting feedback from a manager we’ve seen work to get the conversation flowing from the employee’s side:

Timing is everything when requesting feedback from your manager

how to ask for feedback from your manager

The easiest time for your boss to share feedback with you is when it is top of mind and the details are fresh.

If you are wrapping up a big project or have just presented an idea to your boss, take the opportunity to ask for feedback on the work that has just been done.

Your 1:1 meeting with your manager is a great time to ask for this feedback — make it a distinct item on your agenda!

Your boss will be able to say what’s on their mind much more easily for a specific, recent occurrence, rather than trying to come up with feedback if you ask more broadly about how you’re doing.

If you need more guidance on how to ask for feedback from your boss, you can use the Radical Candor CORE method — Context, Observation, Result, nExt stEps.

C — Context (Cite the specific situation.)

O — Observation (Describe what was said or done.)

R — Result (What is the most meaningful consequence to you and to them?)

E — nExt stEps (What are the expected next steps?)

Get the Radical Candor CORE guide >>

For example, when requesting feedback from your manager, you could say: “You asked me to help the team be more efficient (context), and I decided to try implementing Slack to engage the team more outside of email (observation), the team is spending less time on email but more time communicating, which allows us to get more done in less time (result). I’d like to get your feedback about how you think this effort is working and what I can do to continue making team communication more efficient. (nExt stEps).”

Propose your own feedback for confirmation

Before requesting feedback from your manager, take some time to reflect on areas that you want to improve.

Think of some criticism for yourself and mention it to your boss. Ask if they agree and then give them time to respond and elaborate.

Your prompting may help them share more of their thoughts on both the subject you raised as well as others.

Keep a tally of feedback from your manager

How many times each week does your boss criticize/praise you? If it’s all praise and no criticism, beware! You need to work harder to get the criticism. Try talking to your boss about the idea of Radical Candor.

Tell them you’d welcome Radical Candor, but you’d prefer Obnoxious Aggression to silence. Print out the Radical Candor framework, and when you’re having a conversation and you feel like your boss is pulling their punches, point to Radical Candor and ask them to go there.

how to ask for feedback from your manager

Get our free guide for rolling out Radical Candor >>

Ask your peers or your boss’s peers

If you’re still having a lot of trouble getting feedback from your boss, think about all the other people that you work well with. You undoubtedly work closely on projects with a number of peers.

Ask if they have any feedback for you. If there are other managers or executives at the company who have seen your work closely, ask them for feedback as well!

Don’t overdo it

When you do get some feedback from your manager, work on addressing the issues before asking for more.


*This post was updated June 14, 2024.

Need more help with humble feedback? Then you need The Feedback Loop (think Groundhog Day meets The Office), a 5-episode workplace comedy series starring David Alan Grier that brings to life Radical Candor’s simple framework for navigating candid conversations.

You’ll get an hour of hilarious content about a team whose feedback fails are costing them business; improv-inspired exercises to teach everyone the skills they need to work better together; and after-episode action plans you can put into practice immediately to up your helpful feedback EQ.

We’re offering Radical Candor readers 10% off the self-paced e-course. Follow this link and enter the promo code FEEDBACK at checkout.

Kim Scott is the author of Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity and Radical Respect: How to Work Together Better and co-founder of Radical Candor, a company that helps people put the ideas in her books into practice. Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter and other tech companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University and before that led AdSense YouTube, and DoubleClick teams at Google. She's also managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo and started a diamond-cutting factory in Moscow. She lives with her family in Silicon Valley.