How to Give Feedback to Your Boss

By: Angela Huffmon
Posted: 09/29/2011

If you want to have a good working relationship with your boss, your feedback on your boss’ performance is crucial.   Managers are usually the ones giving employees feedback.  However, feedback should not be conducted in one direction only, manager to employee.  Your ability to communicate with your manager the positives and negatives of their management style is just as important.

Many employees shy away from giving their boss any kind of feedback and you may be the same way.  After all there’s nothing more difficult than having to tell your boss that he or she needs to improve.  There are many reasons why most employees avoid giving feedback to their manager.  The main reason to avoid giving feedback is a fear of retaliation or negative repercussion.  You may even feel intimidated to offer positive feedback, thinking to yourself, ‘my boss doesn’t want to hear my opinion.’  Keep in mind that any good manager understands that when an employee can express frustrations, the employee will be more productive.  In fact, employees that are able to release their frustrations also deliver better customer service.  Therefore, it is to your manager’s benefit to allow you to express yourself.

Although your innovative manager may welcome your feedback there are some productive ways you can offer the information.

Productive Ways to Give Negative Feedback

1.       When giving your boss feedback that is less than glowing, be tactful.  Remember he or she is your manager and should be given your respect.  Choose your words carefully.  Don’t use language that is unnecessarily harsh, and never under any circumstances use profanity.

2.       Be specific when describing the situation that made you uncomfortable.  For example, “I didn’t appreciate it when you reprimanded me in front of my co-workers today.  I would appreciate it if you would call me into your office in private the next time you want to discuss my performance.”  This will give your manager a clear example of the behavior that can be altered for a more positive result.

3.       Never offer negative feedback in a public setting.  Your words would be better received if they are said in private.  Ask your manager if you can have a few minutes in private to discuss a sensitive matter.  Your boss will understand what you mean and ask you to step into an office or conference room.

4.       Make it clear that you want to have a positive relationship with your boss and your feedback will hopefully improve your relationship.  This will help your boss know that you are trying to bridge a gap instead of just being another whiny employee.

5.       After you’ve the discussion with your boss.  Don’t rehash the entire conversation with your co-workers.  This will get around the office and erode any good feelings your boss may have had about the conversation.  Don’t be a gossipy employee.

Productive Ways to Give Positive Feedback

Timing is important when communicating positive feedback.  If your boss does something that truly motivates you or your team share your positive feelings immediately.  Sharing immediately will reinforce with your boss the things they should continue doing with the team.  Let’s face it your boss may not always know what’s working and what isn’t until the results come out.  However, results may take weeks or months to be revealed.  Your feedback can be an immediate indicator that his or her actions are exactly what you need to be the best employee you can be.

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