It happens all too frequently. When I was an HR manager employees would talk in my office at performance appraisal time and ask me how to interpret this feedback from their bosses.\n\u201cJust keep doing what you\u2019re doing.\u201d\nIf that is the sum total of the feedback you get, you can leave frustrated. Sigh.\nYou don't have to give up just because you got an unhelpful answer.\nThere are strategies you can use to get what you need. If this question doesn't work, \u201cCan you be more specific?\u201d Here are some other questions you can try.\nThe\u00a0questions are grouped together in pairs because you want to ask them together. You\u2019ll notice they are balanced to get feedback on both strengths and development needs. Whether it\u2019s in the moment or in a planned meeting you can ask:\n\nIf we think about (task\/activity\/meeting\/event\/project), what do like about what I did on that?\nAnd then, (if we think about the ___ task, etc.) if you had to name one thing I could do to improve my performance, what would it be?\n\nWhat\u2019s one thing you like about how I get my job done?\nIf you had to name one thing I could do to improve how I get my job done, what would it be?\n\nWhat kind of feedback have you received about my performance?\nIs there someone else you would recommend I approach to get feedback?\n\nWhat\u2019s one thing you like about how I work with others?\nIf you had to name one thing I could do to improve how I work with others, what would it be?\n\nAt this phase of my career, what do you consider is important to develop? Where do you think I am on\u00a0this?\nWhat do you see that I am already good at that I can leverage in the future?\n\nChoose only one set of questions that you think will work best. You don\u2019t want to ask them all.\nLastly, I can already hear what\u2019s going on in your head. \u201cI could use all these questions, Mary. I still may not get a good answer.\u201d\nWhen you are still not getting a good answer, there are still options.\nKeep in mind that you can ask for feedback at any time. You can say you are being proactive.\nDrop your boss an email up front. Tell him or her you want to set aside some time to get some feedback \u201cbecause you want to make sure you doing what's expected.\u201d\nYou can say you would rather be on top of this than wait until the once-a-year thing. Then offer a couple of questions you would like to discuss. This gives the boss a chance to prepare.\nWhen you think you\u2019ve done all you can, try this.\nThe boss still may not be prepared when you meet. He or she still may not have anything substantive to offer you. You can suggest rescheduling to give him or her more time, i.e. to show you are not giving up. You have to decide if that is going to be productive.\nYou are not always going to get what you want. How your boss responds (or doesn\u2019t) tells you what to expect from this point on. It can be disappointing, but at least you have more information. Now you can decide how you want to proceed.\nAt a minimum,\u00a0keep track of your own accomplishments on a regular basis. In this way you are writing your own version of your performance review. Include your\u00a0objectives and how you are meeting them.\nYou can then meet with your boss, say quarterly, to review what you\u2019ve documented. This can get the boss's attention. When it\u2019s on paper, even if you wrote it, the boss now has something to agree with, or not. This can finally prompt feedback. (Oh, and send what you\u2019ve written ahead of time to allow for review.)\nBe creative to get what you need.\nWhen all else fails, don\u2019t hesitate to call on a trusted mentor or peer for feedback. You can use the same strategies outlined here. Choose someone who is more likely to be responsive and helpful. Apply your our resourcefulness and persistence to get what you need.