Working in a company means that there is always a chain of command that has to be followed. If you just started out, you will often be outranked by other people and you have to work hard to prove your value as an employee. But not even your superiors are exempt from criticism. There will always be a need to keep working on personal and professional growth, no matter what your position in the company may be. That is why there are forms that focus on helping superiors such as managers and supervisors improve and get better at their jobs. We have provided some examples of these forms here as well as some helpful tips on how to give your bosses effective feedback.
Working with anyone closely will give you some form of insight on how they work. This is especially true for your boss. But if you have some feedback to share, should you do it? Are you putting your job at risk by telling your boss about how he or she handles things? Giving your boss information like this is what you call upward feedback and this can be a bit tricky to master. However, if you can do this correctly as well as thoughtfully, not only will this be able to help your boss, but it will also improve your working relationship. So here are the principles that you have to keep in mind when providing feedback to a superior:
The ability to both give and receive feedback will depend on the existing relationship between you and your boss. If there is no form of trust, then feedback is definitely going to be hard or even impossible to exchange. So before you start giving a feedback report to your boss, you have to be sure that your boss is open enough to actually hear what you have to say.
If you know that your boss is not perceptive to feedback and will most likely react negatively to it, or if you and your boss have a rocky relationship, then it is best that you do not anything at all. However, if your boss is open-minded and willing to hear you out, then you should definitely take the opportunity to talk about ways that he or she can improve. As with any feedback, your intentions should be good and your desire to help out your boss must be stronger than any issues that the two of you may have with each other.
Even if you and your boss have a great relationship, giving any form of unsolicited feedback is something that you definitely should not do. Ideally, your boss should ask for your input. Your boss may even point out his or her development areas and ask you to observe any behaviors that he or she is working on. However, this may not always be the case as there are bosses who do not request for your feedback. If that is your situation, then you could always ask if he or she would like feedback in terms of performance. If you are going to ask your employer about this, make sure that the question shows that you only have good intentions. Since it is your boss’ job to hand you feedback, you should avoid trying to sound like you want to give feedback to get back at him or her. You have to show that you are willing to help your boss improve. But if your boss does not want to hear any of it, then you cannot really force the issue.
It can be very tempting for you to tell your boss everything that you would do if you were to take over his or her position. However, your feedback should focus on everything that you see and hear and not on what you would do if you were in charge. You have to be able to share your perspective so that your boss will know how others see him. This can be invaluable information for a leader who has not really connected with those in the lower ranks.
Focusing on your perspective also means understanding the limitations of your standpoint. You have to remember that you are only seeing a fraction of your boss’ performance and you may not realize the demands that you are making. This means that you have to provide feedback that is both honest and driven by factual data. Open up with positive feedback and then you can move on with constructive criticisms and suggestions that you think will help your boss improve. Try to avoid making any sort of accusations as you may not know the entire story. Also, try to make use of whatever details you can get to help back up any points that you are going to make.
No matter how good your intentions are when you prepare and deliver your feedback, there is always going to be a chance that your boss is going to get upset or defensive. If in the event that your boss was the one who asked you for feedback and yet he or she reacted negatively to your comments (even if they were in no way insulting), you should hold your temper and explain that you were only doing what was asked of you. Sometimes reframing the feedback can help. Feedback is best received if you frame it in terms of whatever your boss cares about. Doing this can help you point out the specific behaviors ways that are preventing your boss from achieving his or her goals.
Gauge your boss’ reaction to see how he or she likes to receive feedback and see what topics are best left out. Perhaps your boss does not want to hear feedback about his or her communication style or a certain high-pressure initiative. Rather than clamming up after your boss hands you a negative reaction, you can take this opportunity to check in with what is useful going forward.
If you are not sure that your boss wants to hear feedback from you or if the subject of the feedback is a sensitive one, it is almost always better that you do not bother saying anything. There is no reason for you to risk your relationship with your boss or even your job unless you feel that your boss’ behavior is putting the company at risk. Instead, you should look for ways that will let you provide anonymous feedback. A good example would be the 360 feedback process where the feedback can come from just about everybody. This will give you the opportunity to speak your mind.
Some things you should remember are:
Whether you would like to call them performance surveys, subordinate appraisals of managers, upward performance appraisals, or upward appraisal processes, all of these are ways for you to evaluate your boss. These types of evaluations have benefits such as improved management and increased employee engagement. These benefits, however, can only be gained if the proper precautions are taken to protect both the managers and the employees. One of the best precautions that employees can take when evaluating their boss is by doing it anonymously. If you are asked to evaluate your boss anonymously, then you should not use this opportunity to bash everything that your boss has done wrong. You should approach the task with both calmness and objectivity. Consider all of the long-term consequences. So here are some things that should help you out in the event that you are required or asked to provide feedback to your boss:
Company policy would usually dictate how a performance appraisal is to be done, as well as its form and frequency. Go through your company policy so that you will be able to find out what is customary so you can prepare for it. The way you will approach the evaluation will change depending on whether you can do it anonymously, through a written appraisal, or through a group discussion with an upper management representative asking questions from both you and your coworkers.
Before you start the evaluation, you have to learn the purpose of the appraisal as well as how the results of the appraisal are going to be used. Sometimes, it can be used to change the company policies and procedures that could heavily affect employees. Sometimes, it can factor into your boss’ promotion and compensation potential. No matter what the purpose may be, you have to do your part as an employee and do what you can to provide all the information in a truthful manner.
Be honest, but you should also remain tactful. Remember that you should not use the evaluation as a way for you to get back at your boss or air out any resentments that you may have. If you do this, then nobody is going to take your evaluation seriously and whatever you put in it can easily be disregarded. Always use constructiveness, respect, and generosity as your guide to help you know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it.
Do not wait until the evaluation to form any opinions about your boss’ performance. Advance preparation can become so much easier if the company provides you with the appraisal’s measurement criteria. In the event that you company does not do this, then all you have to do is observe the strengths and weaknesses of your boss, the qualities that he or she shows when dealing with pressure, responsiveness, fairness, ability to solve problems, decision-making skills, how he or she communicates expectations, and more. These are the things that you have to look into when preparing for the upcoming evaluation.
You have to be prepared to back up whatever opinion you have about your boss. If you are asked, then provide an illustrative situation that will share your improvement suggestion as a personal desire rather than something that is accusatory. Come up with any suggestions that others will perceive in a positive light.
Group evaluations can pose a danger. It is common for employee frustrations to boil up and turn the evaluation into a complaint session. You should not do this as your silence will likely gain notice and the leader might just specifically solicit your input. If complaints are valid, then you must acknowledge it, but try to frame the problem in a much larger context than your superior. Remember to not get too pumped up and join in with those who are trying to get back at your boss. Do what you can to show your boss that you are trying to help rather than blame.
This is something that a lot of people would rather not do, but sometimes it just cannot be helped. Your superiors may be acting in a way that is affecting the productivity of your coworkers and you will need to tell your boss about this. So consider these questions and think carefully about your response for each:
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you are most likely ready to hand over feedback to your boss. If not, then you should postpone it for a while longer. When the time comes for you to finally give your boss negative feedback, consider the following steps to help you out:
If you wish to read more business-related topics, check out some free feedback survey templates we have listed for you.