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Workplace 101: A Profiles Global Business Blog

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How to Give Feedback to Your Boss Without Getting Fired

  
  
  
 

 

You have concerns about something at work. Who would you be more inclined to speak to about it, your supervisor, manager, vice-president or CEO?

The topic of giving feedback can be quite a sensitive one, as the issue may be about how your boss is conducting himself. No one likes to tell the person that pays their salary that they are doing something wrong. However, a true leader and fair boss will appreciate your feedback considering it is fair and true.

Leaders receive less feedback the higher they go in an organization. By giving feedback to your boss, you are giving a powerful gift. However, because he may not receive much feedback, he may not know how to react. Even if he does not react (or reacts negatively) he needs to hear it and will most likely come to appreciate it once he has had time to reflect!

Feedback from employees is priceless. Do you think companies like Facebook and Google would have had such outstanding success without feedback from their staff? Giving feedback to your boss in an appropriate manner is beneficial for all parties involved.

Here are some dos and don'ts for giving feedback to your boss:

  1. Don't ambush your boss. You don't know what is on his mind at every moment, so grabbing him in the break room is a little inappropriate as you may not get his full attention, which can lead to your concerns being brushed off. Schedule time for a quality discussion.  
  2. Don't call your boss out in public. In the case of a negative reaction from your boss, only give feedback when both parties have cooled down and had time to completely think over the issue. Unless you are involved in a formal brainstorming session, you need to have your boss' back in public.
  3. Do be open and honest. Your boss may ask you a question in front of your entire team that you are not prepared to answer, it happens to the best of us. Some of us brush it off, and some of us become offended. After, make sure to speak privately to your boss about how it made you feel uneasy. Tapping into the emotional impact he had on you is very powerful. If you were affected by it, and leave it alone, you may begin to resent your boss and in turn, your job.
  4. Do talk about the issue in a broader context. Make it relevant to what he is trying to achieve (i.e. be an effective leader, increase office morale). Let him know the WIIFM factor, which resonate with anyone. 'What's in it for me.' For example, if your issue is that your boss is not conducting himself appropriately, or how he now wants his staff to behave, say something like "I know it is important to you that you role model our values, but your behavior is inconsistent with that." Remember, always conduct yourself in a mature and professional manner, no matter the issue.

What advice do you have for giving feedback to your boss? Leave us a comment below, or share with us on Facebook and Twitter (#ProfilesBlog)

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Comments

A proactive conversation with your boss on HOW and WHEN he/she would like to receive feedback from you (should the occassion arise) sets the stage well for giving effective feedback in the future.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 21, 2012 4:46 PM by Corky Lind
That's great advice Corky. Thank you!
Posted @ Tuesday, February 21, 2012 4:48 PM by Dario Priolo
Be VERY careful or you could be canned!  
 
Never directly criticize!!  
 
Only make gentle suggestions:  
"Perhaps X will increase ... " 
 
Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA 
Hotel Professional Extraordinaire 
Sales and Guest Relations Manager for CIS, Eastern Europe & Greece 
Email: olinka@olinka.info 
Professional Website: http://www.olinka.info/ 
Skype name: olinkaru 
M: 230-717-5790 evenings  
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kovshanovaolga
Posted @ Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:43 AM by Olga Kovshanova, MBA, MA
Never - never use the word 'but' in the sentence giving feedback. Depending on your boss - use qualified adverbs / adjectives (your actions SEEMED to be inconsistent) 
 
 
 
At the end of the day - this is your boss and he/she may NOT want, appreciate or listen to the feedback. You might be giving him /her a great gift but you might also get fired or 'punished' in some other way as a result. Know your boss! And be realistic.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:22 AM by JHenry
This is so true ! Only one critical thing is missing : it is good advice IF THE BOSS IS A GOOD LEADER HIMSELF and able to accept feedback WITHOUT any definitive prejudged postion, what is not always the fact.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 22, 2012 3:26 PM by Bertrand DUNOU
Very useful discussion. This issue is definitely one which has to improve in international work. 
 
In addition to the excellent inputs that have been contributed already, here are some further thoughts, that may apply in some situations (no one single recipe works in space and time - i.e the supervisor may react differently at different times and in different situations): 
a. the organizational culture has to allow or empower the kind of exchange we are discussing. It is not only about the staff member taking the "chance" to speak up but also about senior management sending a signal to supervisors that they should encourage their staff to discuss issues, in an appropriate frame and process. For staff members to know that they CAN and are encouraged to speak up is already half the battle. 
b. The staff member needs to reflect on what he/she is giving feedback on? strategy? behavior, ... 
as the approach may be different in each case 
c. one should be aware of cultural background (of both the staff member and the supervisor) as the approach would be different in one culture versus another 
d. It may be useful to ask the supervisor if one can give feedback 
e. It also may be useful/appropriate for the staff member to ask "could you tell me what you think of my feedback" or "would you like to discuss this further in the coming days" 
f. try to make it concise, to the point and short (supervisors are, or think they are, busy people so not much time to give). Ask how much time he/she (the supervisor) has or make an appointment.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 22, 2012 8:46 PM by Charles VINCENT
Practise courageous integrity at all times.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 21, 2012 11:16 PM by asha nair
this is very difficult task, I think by through good form of sentences or by saying new strategies to solve the problem.
Posted @ Friday, October 25, 2013 1:37 PM by pmp training courses
I agree on that, by showing new strategies or new type of action to resolve the issue.
Posted @ Friday, October 25, 2013 1:39 PM by Exam simulator
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