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Asking Subordinates for Feedback?
Last Post 24 Sep 2020 11:56 AM by ford333. 3 Replies.
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Semper_SmurfUser is Offline
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Semper_Smurf

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07 Sep 2020 09:57 PM
    Greetings! I wanted to bounce this idea off all of you to gauge the quality of my thinking process. My question is this - As an officer (or senior enlisted), have you ever asked your subordinates for feedback of your performance? Yes, we have OERs and our superiors tell us how we're doing, but the people we interact with every single day (and who's lives we actually impact the most) never get a say in how we're doing. I understand most (probably all) junior members would hesitate to tell their boss what they REALLY think...but I think if approached the right way a meaningful dialog could begin. A little background on myself - I'm prior enlisted (9 years) and recently commissioned through a DCO program. In my 9 years enlisted I never once had a supervising officer ask me my opinion of their job performance, or ask me how they could better assist me in the performance of my job. As an officer, I feel like this information is crucial to shine a light on any blind spots I have in leading my team. Am I being crazy for considering this?
    CCCSDUser is Offline
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    CCCSD

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    07 Sep 2020 10:25 PM
    Opening Pandora’s box. Be prepared to be ripped to pieces, and ensure that you do not retaliate, or appear to retaliate.
    mtb40User is Offline
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    mtb40

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    10 Sep 2020 02:52 PM
    I don't see any issue with asking about feedback. When conducting their performance reviews, I have always asked my people for feedback at the end... especially in areas to help support them and the field needs. This includes officer, enlisted, and civilian. Several of my supervisors have requested feedback too.
    ford333User is Offline
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    ford333

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    24 Sep 2020 11:56 AM
    I see this thread is weeks old, however it just caught my eye. This is an interesting topic which is a great to bring up. I am of the opinion it would not be out of place in officer development forums.

    I have personally utilized senior enlisted in the E-7 to E-9 range for feedback regarding my leadership style in the past, not necessarily for overall performance. They have the experience of the enlisted ranks to help provide perspective which we can not develop on our own. I am not saying they should be requested to criticize our past decisions as a leader or a commander. (We have senior officers who write fitness reports to do this for us) I believe senior enlisted are helpful in deducing the reception of our general interaction with junior enlisted personnel. Things such as tone, body language, or vernacular choice which may be nothing to you is seen through a microscope by subordinates. Your decision-making and communication should not be dictated by your subordinates, but their perception can weigh heavily into the respect or faith they have in your leadership and abilities. In my experience speaking with my senior enlisted for feedback, they have always given unadultered and professional information which was constructive in my growth as a junior officer. I advise you take advantage at appropriate time to do so, maybe once every few months with a senior enlisted whom you respect and trust to keep said feedback between you.

    Also recognize that some senior enlisted (Sergeant Major or Master Chief) are the CO's sounding board. They may just give you insight of the CO/XO's perspective of your performance as you develop rapport with them. Do not take this relationship for granted.

    You will never know unless you ask.
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