Asking for and questions during a performance discussion with your manager

The facts are that managers are busy and don’t relish performance discussions. Harry Levinson past Professor, Harvard University and Director of the Levinson Institute boldly states: “Coaching and counselling is the most uncomfortable, avoided and mishandled of all managerial responsibilities.”

Gallup found that only half of the employees surveyed strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work. If you are not in this half and want more feedback it is your responsibility to ask for a meeting.

It is tempting to dash off a quick email or instant message, don’t this is a good subject to bring up face-to-face. Leave a prepared list of questions you want to discuss during the meeting. Give your manager space to think about this and ask when would be a good time to check back on date and time for this meeting.

Examples of questions for your performance discussion

Not all of these would be discussed, select 2-3 that are most important and leave the rest for future performance discussions. You probably will not get more than 30 minutes for the first meeting, laser focus on a few areas that are most important to you.

What are your expectations/priorities for my job? 

What do you feel I am doing well and what might I have done better?

What additional knowledge or skills would make me more effective in this role?

How could I be more helpful to other people on the team?

How would you rate me: below expectations, meets expectations, or exceeds expectations?

What feedback I need?

One thing I could do to improve my interactions with others (team members, clients, other areas, you).

What do you see as my main strength?

How can I do more of what I do best?

What one thing I need to work on before our next meeting?

Questions you have for me?

How often do you want me to schedule our performance discussions?

You are asking for your manager’s most valuable asset, time. It takes courage to ask, do so with humility and express your desire to have an open dialogue/exchange with your manager. You might be surprised at the receptivity.