In any new job, you’re going to go through a period of adjustment. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at or what role you’re in—you’ll probably need some training, some new skills, and some time to get used to your new responsibilities.
But that period of adjustment can make anyone feel uncomfortable. Sure, your boss certainly understands that you need some time to learn the ropes. But are you learning new skills fast enough? Are you picking up the job as quickly as your boss expects? Or are you falling behind and failing to meet your manager’s expectations?
You don’t want to wait until your annual review to find out if you’re progressing at the right rate. But you also don’t want to ask for feedback too often. Pop in your boss’ office to ask about each and every assignment, and you’ll risk being perceived as needy.
So when you’re feeling insecure in a new job, here’s how can you ask for feedback in a productive, proactive way.
Take Advantage of Your One-on-Ones
Whether you’re brand new or a 10-year office veteran, you should be in your boss’ office once a week or so for regular one-on-one meetings (if you don’t have one scheduled, get it on the calendar ASAP). That’s the perfect time to ask for feedback.
Ideally, your boss shouldn’t control the entire agenda for this meeting (here are more tips for successful one-on-ones), so you should have some time to address your own concerns. You can ask about specific assignments, but also take some time to ask more general questions that can help you pinpoint any bigger issues:
- What should I focus on doing better?
- Is my progress so far what you’d expect from someone at this stage of training?
- What are the key skills that someone in my position needs to succeed?
From your boss’ answers to these questions, you should be able to tell if you’re progressing normally or if you’re falling behind. And if you do sense that you’re not quite up to par, these answers should also illuminate what you can start working on to catch up.
Find and Emulate Success in Your Department
Your boss doesn’t have to be the sole source of your feedback. It can also be helpful to benchmark yourself against your peers.
Once you get situated in your job, it should become pretty apparent who the high achievers of the group are.
As you get to know those co-workers, take advantage of their expertise to provide peer reviews of your work. It doesn’t have to be a formal process—just (nicely) ask your colleague to take a look at a report you’ve compiled or a blog post you’ve written and see what he or she thinks. Since this person is experienced in the role and knows what your boss is looking for, he or she will likely be able to provide valuable feedback about what you’re doing well and what, if anything, your work is lacking.
Then, you can dig deeper with a few addition questions:
- How long did it take you to really grasp the responsibilities of this position?
- From the work of mine that you’ve reviewed, do you see any areas that I should work on?
- Is there any specific training you think I should pursue that will help me in this role?
- What is our manager looking for in this specific assignment?
By asking for feedback both from your boss and your colleagues, you’ll get a range of perspectives that can show you the entire picture—without badgering just your manager about it.
And with that clear picture of where you are and where you need to be, you can be sure you’re on the path to success.