We all want to be successful in our career and grow up the corporate ladder. When I turned a manager, one of the first things I had to do, was give feedback to my team and help improve performance. We all learn the art, one way or the other. We make a few mistakes, try things out, and decide on a method that works best for us.
But over the years, I found myself in situations, wanting to do the reverse. I wanted to seek feedback from my team and also provide feedback to my boss. the former is easy (but that’s for a different blog), giving feedback to the boss can be a tricky and stressful experience.
Why should you give feedback to your boss?
While the boss may not reach out and seek feedback in a proactive manner, you should consider giving feedback for a few reasons like below.
1. Discuss about something that impacts your work and happiness at work.
2. Improve your professional relationship with the boss.
3. Help the boss make better decisions for the organization & team.
Once you know the WHY, the actual ability to give feedback is a different thing.
HOW? is important. Here are a few suggestions.
Be the first & in person
It is better to do it in person and direct. Else it has the risk of rumor mills churning and damaging whatever relationship you already had.
Pick your battles
Picking your topics / issues is the first step. You do not want to give him feedback on anything & everything. Pick only those issues, that clearly answer the WHY. Sometimes it is better to let go a few topics, that have the potential to damage your relationship with the boss and peers.
Keep the conversation productive and positive. Make sure that the choice of words and the approach is not a threat and an accusation. The discussion has to move towards resolving the disconnect.
Do not hold the boss ransom for a response that you expect. Share your feedback and let the boss reflect.
Schedule the discussion
No one likes surprises at work. Block time well in advance. Use the time to come up with a mutual solution. Consider the thought in your mind for a couple of days before taking any steps.
Before all this evaluate your existing relationship. If the discussion will dampen it, or if the boss is known to be non receptive, or you fear hostility, have a back up plan, like taking it up with the HR, or finding a new job.
Giving feedback to the boss, may seem scary. If done for the right reasons, respectfully, and in a planned manner, it helps improve your work life. Best bosses, are always willing to learn. They will appreciate your attitude to take on more responsibility. Help them develop, and make your relationship better for both of you.
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