Ever wonder what people really think about you at work? Are you sure you’re being perceived the way you intended to be?

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • Why it’s important to know what colleagues think
  • Seven questions to include in any evaluation
  • What to do with the information you receive

Today you’ll learn how to know what people view as your strengths and what they view as your opportunities to improve at work. This evaluation strategy is based on discovering your personal branding by giving people an anonymous avenue to comment on how you’re seen at work.

In this Episode:

[2:15] Not everyone’s opinion matters
[5:20] Some of the best questions to ask – write these down
[16:30] Putting things into perspective

Links and Resources:

The Branding Rx – 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand

Industry Insider – 12 hours of CME, learn exactly how to land a rewarding nonclinical career without a new degree, special connections, prior experience, or a pay cut




Get every episode on your preferred player…

Apple Podcast | Google Podcast | Spotify | TuneIn + Alexa | iHeart Radio

Thanks for joining me on this episode of
The Career Rx!

Please be sure to leave me a review on Apple [here’s a 60 second step-by-step video] and don’t forget to send me your questions so I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode.

More for you:

The Speaking Rx 12 hours of CME, learn the business of professional public speaking to establish yourself as a thought leader you are, and get paid for your speaking expertise

Let’s connect!

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn


Episode 120 – How to Find Out What People Really Think About You at Work

Hey everybody, today we’re going to be talking about how to figure out what people really think about you at work. And I don’t mean this again, in a gossipy way at all, this is a follow up to a recent episode about your professional brand, your personal brand at work – figuring out what people sort of say about you, when you’re not in the room, how they perceive you.

And this is a follow on to really help you nail down how exactly people view you, what they think you’re good at, and what they think you could do better and this is a really helpful tool.

So I’m going to be very concrete and sort of logistical here in terms of how to find out the information that will be very, very helpful to you, I think, to understanding what kind of a shadow do you cast around the people you work with in your organization.

And this is really super to get unfiltered, really honest feedback from a variety of people in an anonymous way. So you can choose whether you want to act upon it or not. But sometimes we don’t get this kind of feedback from our, from our colleagues, even from our bosses, from our managers, because people don’t like to be quiet so…

Well people sometimes have a hard time having these kinds of discussions, and especially when it’s not anonymous, they can have a really hard time being very, very transparent. But you will want to know what people view as your strengths and what they view as your opportunities to improve, because it’s going to be really important in terms of how you shape your own career.

So before I get into exactly how to do this, I want to just remind you why it’s important, you know, not everybody’s feedback is worth acting on. Right? Not everybody’s feedback is something that you need to listen to. But it can be very helpful. I mean, you get to ultimately decide that it can be extremely eye opening.

And it can help you to be more introspective, and, and more mindful of how you’re coming across. Especially if you’re coming across in ways that you don’t intend or that don’t line up with your intended professional brand, which we’ve talked about in the past in terms of how do people perceive you?

What do people think about you? You know, what did they say about you? What did they think of you as the go to for, right? So this can really be very, very helpful. And again, unfortunately, we don’t usually get this from our bosses. So that’s why it’s extremely important.

And, you know, it’s useful to have tools because it can be really hard, even when you talk to trusted colleagues to say, Listen, I really value your your thoughts, I would really like for you to help me to understand, you know, what I’m doing well, where I can improve, a lot of times people will still be uncomfortable having that as like a face to face conversation with you, even when they really want to help you and they think highly of you.

And sometimes, it’s just a little bit too nebulous to say, you know, what did people think of me? Or what am I good at? Or where should I improve? So I’m going to give you seven questions that you can put forth. And you can choose a subset of these, but I recommend using all of them, because sometimes they’re slightly similar but different enough that you will sometimes get different feedback in this way.

And then I recommend, unless you have some other tool, I mean, this is extremely easy to do by just setting up a Google form. And Google Form. I mean, Google is free. Everybody has Google, right?

You can go to Google Forms. And you can set up what’s basically a it’s like an input survey, where you have these questions, and you can make it anonymous where there’s no collection of email or names or anything like that. So that when you get the results, you don’t know who said what. And then you know, in order just to keep yourself honest here, you should ask, you should ask a solid handful of people to do this for you.

So that you can, you can get it on unfiltered and get a truly anonymized, you’ll get the best feedback that way. You could also do it by having a first route to a trusted friend or even to an administrative assistant or somebody that you trust to take it and sort of aggregate or anonymize it and give it back to you.

But, but an easy way, again, if you’re not getting this at work, and you don’t have another tool is Google Forms. You can just set up these seven questions and you can ask Google in the results that it shares back with you to not share back the name.

And then you just look at the results. Some of these are going to sound like pretty obvious questions, and I think it’s useful to have them open ended, but to ask for an example.

So question number one, “what are my strengths? Please include some examples.” So this is a probably doesn’t seem like, you know, rocket science, like what are my strengths, and you’re asking people to include examples.

You can tell your your colleagues, when you let them know that you’re going to be sending them this link, you can say, “Listen, I’d love it, if you could give some examples”, you know, not enough examples to betray anybody’s confidence or, or identify any, you know, specific situations if they’re not comfortable to do so.

But it is it, you know, there’s a middle ground. So for example, if somebody was going to say that one of your strengths is that you’re really good at, at solving problems, resolving conflict, their example could be just as simple as I’ve seen this person be very effective with disagreements among our work colleagues, by being able to, you know, bring everybody to the table, or I’ve seen this person be really effective in being able to defuse, you know, hot situations, maybe even that involve patients or or family members or folks who are not your colleagues.

So those can be vague enough, but they’re still helpful to you to understand what they mean when they say I’m a good communicator instead. Are they a good problem solver? Maybe they mean, you’re good with an Excel spreadsheet, right? Like, what did they mean?

So when you’re saying I want examples, they are just to be specific enough for you to understand what kinds of applications like what kind of environment? What kind of situation? Are they talking about? Or and carry that forward to the rest of the seven? Okay.

And the second question is, “what are some opportunities for me to improve?” So again, really pretty vague, right? But what are some things that I could improve upon? And again, you, you need some examples on this, right?

Like it. And so hopefully, people will give you at least a few sentences. So what are some ways in which I can improve? And hopefully, they’ll give you some sentences that are specific enough for you to be able to use them and understand the application that’s desired here. And again, you don’t have to do everything.

So you might read that and say, Oh, I disagree, or I don’t want to improve that or whatever. I don’t know what your view would be, but it is useful, again, to have a variety of people’s inputs into what you might do to improve.

Then question three is, what is my impact on others, and others could be on the team, on the department, on co-workers, I mean, it could be anybody else, right? And you could replace others with something more specific if you want to, but you want to ask about your impact on others.

And people will interpret this differently. So I don’t want to bias by making it more specific. This is useful to have again, that sort of vagueness of what is the impact on others? This really gives you an understanding of how you are showing up? Right? What do people think you’re really good at?

What do they think maybe you could do a little bit better? And what is the impact that you’re having on the people that are working with you or around you, for you or that you’re working for etcetera?

Then the next three are very common, sort of in corporate settings to ask these kinds of questions and feedback, but I think it’s actually pretty helpful. It is. It has the potential for seeming redundant with questions already asked, but I think when you ask things slightly differently, you’ll get different results.

So question number four, is, what should I start doing that I’m not doing already to be more effective? And you could replace more effective with anything that you want? But generally speaking, what should I start doing that I’m not doing already to be better at my job, to be more effective?

Or you might make it specific, if you have something that you’re really trying to develop? So if you’re trying to develop relationships around work, you could say, What should I start doing, that I’m not doing today to improve relationships at work? So you can add some specificity there if you want to? Or you can just keep it vague with be more effective.

This probably sounds like opportunities to improve, right sounds pretty similar to number two. And it is, but it’s phrased differently. And I have seen because we’ve used this quite a bit that you get different answers.

And then the fifth question is, what should I stop doing that I am doing now in order to be more effective? What should I stop doing? So this also potentially sounds like an opportunity for improvement, right?

Like what should you stop doing? But it’s kind of drilling down. The first few are sort of a warm up and this one is getting more granular. What are some things that I’m doing that I should stop doing?

And people often struggle to think of what should I tell this person to stop doing? But it can be an extremely informative answer. And again, if you collect these from a handful of people, which I recommend, you know, probably five to seven, if possible, have colleagues and potentially people in, kind of think of it as a 360 degree view, right?

Like people in different roles, people who are, who work directly with you, people who work sort of, in, you know, slightly more removed or adjacent people, more senior people more junior and, and ask a variety of people these questions.

Alright, the sixth question. “What should I continue doing, that I’m doing now, that makes me effective?” And so that probably sounds a lot like number one, right? Like, what are my strengths? But you’re really asking people to pick out what’s something that I’m doing now. That’s, that’s making me effective, right, that I’m doing well, that is something I should definitely not stop doing. And that I am already doing. So what should I do?

And this whole model of start, stop, continue? Again, it’s pretty pretty common in business type workplaces. But I think regardless of the type of workplace that you have, if you ask people these questions, and you ask them as follow ons, to the first three, you will get slightly more information, people will kind of have their brain will be sort of warmed up, and they’ll be able to get different types of answers, you’ll get deeper kinds of answers. And so it was worth it, in my opinion, to have all six of these.

And then the seventh one I really love and I almost think of it as a bonus, but I just really, really like it, I think it is very helpful. Because people do often struggle to write narratives about what they think of you or to give specific examples because again, they worry about other people’s, you know, privacy or confidentiality, or, or just otherwise kind of being too specific. They worried about that.

My question seven is, ask them to write down in three words, “How does it feel to work with me?” So these are, these are adjectives, I guess, right? For the most part. It’s asking for three separate words, not a phrase, but like three different words. So how does it feel to work with me?

And you’ll get, you know, it doesn’t need to be in any particular tense, it could be a noun or a verb, an adverb or an adjective. But you’ll get, you’ll get descriptive words. So if somebody says something like “intimidating”, versus “comfortable”, right, that’s, that’s, I mean, that right? There is a very, very stark contrast that would be really eye opening.

If somebody says, you know, inspired or inspiring or any version thereof, then that’s interesting and inspiring and intimidating, are both in the answers, you know, maybe even from the same person, then that’s extremely interesting, right?

Because you know, not not everything about you is going to feel the same way to your colleagues. And some of the things that you do, that maybe even aren’t the best or most comfortable feeling, push people out of their comfort zones might be one of the things that makes you most effective.

So whether these words seem like they’re good words, quote, unquote, or bad words, quote, unquote, or a mix of both is just so so interesting to think about.

So I guess I took a little bit of an adventure, in editorializing in between. So I’m just going to recap these seven questions real quick. Again, my recommendation is either through a trusted colleague who can email these questions to people, they could write back to a third party who could identify the strip that collates it, and send it back to you. Or you can use a Google form or some other type of software that you like, that’s anonymized, where you can get these responses back.

Tell the people before you give them these questions, why you’re seeking the feedback, you know, that you really are hoping to understand, in a really honest way, how you are perceived because your intentions, of course, are good, but like that, that’s not always how it shows up. So you want to really know what they think and, and you really value their input for whatever reason, and you tell them the reason, right?

You really value their input because they are trusted peers, they are a mentor you look up to because they are somebody that might represent the view of people that you’re teaching. You know, I mean, it again, if you’re going 360 degrees, just let people know, I really, really would love it. If you could give this a little bit of thought. I’m only asking, you know, five to seven people, you know, please take a few minutes to do this.

And again, questions are: what are my strengths? What are my opportunities to improve? What is the impact I have on others? What should I start doing that I’m not doing already to make me more effective? What should I stop doing that I’m doing now? Which would make me more effective if I stop? What should I continue doing that I’m already doing? That makes me very effective? And how does it feel to work with me? What are three words that describe how it feels to work with me?

So some of these, I think, are probably bread and butter. You’ve heard them in evals, before, some of them I hope, are slightly different take. And I think when you put them together in these seven, if you’re able to get really good, sort of narrative responses here from you know, this is not a Likert scale kind of thing, right?

These are, people have to think about and formulate some thoughts. If you can get these back, it will really, really help you to understand how people perceive you at work. And that’s a huge part of your professional brand. Some of it may be perfectly aligned, this is exactly how I want to come across, I know I’m good at these things, I’m already working on these other things that I’m not as quite as good at, I’m going to, you know, I am aware that this is the impact that I have on others. And I like it that way.

Or I’m aware that this is the impact I have on others. And I’m trying to change that in some different direction. And, and make sure that you know, some of the things that people suggest you start and stop, continue, and how does it feel to work with you. I mean, taken as a whole, you can decide where you want to take action and where you don’t.

But it’s so very, very valuable. To get an unfiltered, really honest, totally transparent view of how you are basically showing up at work. What do people perceive about you? What are their thoughts about you? What they feel about you can be incredibly, incredibly important, really, really helpful feedback when you’re trying to figure out how to continue your work to really optimize your professional brand.

If you can find seven colleagues to do this for you, you’re a very fortunate person. So definitely, definitely give it a try. And if you do, try this and get interesting feedback. I love to hear all about it. So please feel free to let me know how this turns out for you. I hope you try it. Bye for now.

Before you go, please leave me a review on Apple Podcasts, share and subscribe to this podcast. Your support makes all the difference and it truly helps this information reach someone who may really need it. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Pin It on Pinterest