How To Efficiently Give Feedback To Your Boss?

By on January 31, 2017

The age of continuous feedback is upon us. Leadership has recognised the need for continuous flow of feedback across the entire organisation. 360 Degree Feedback is one of the most popular practices that is being adopted the world over. It helps companies collect key performance data points and solicit feedback from everyone who is connected directly (internally or externally) with an employee.

In traditional management, only managers gave feedback to their direct reports which was mostly on an annual basis. With companies adopting continuous feedback models, employees can give feedback to their managers as well as seek it from them whenever there is a need.. In some cases even anonymous feedback is practiced. It is meant to help employees share information in a discreet manner which they otherwise would have not been able to share openly.

Continuous feedback has the potential to help them get rid of obstacles that could probably create a bottleneck for their team. Feedback can also be sought by employees to determine how their performance has been over a particular period. If it has been good, getting recognition is enough motivation for them to work harder. And if not, then they can take suggestions from their managers and identify ways to improve their performance.

With most of the modern feedback models, employees are given a channel through which they can take and receive feedback. It may or may not be anonymous. You now have the means to give feedback to your boss. But in what manner should you give it to him or her? It is not something that you do on a whim. One of the best ways is to set a meeting with your manager and discuss your issues. Prepare a feedback meeting checklist and follow it to the T. Though you need to carefully analyse the situation from every possible angle before you reach out to your manager. Here we list down a few important things you must do to convey feedback to your manager.

Before the meeting:

Schedule a meeting:

Do not assume that your boss will be available whenever you want to seek or give feedback. Respect her priorities. Schedule a time that is convenient for both the parties and seek confirmation. Thus, neither person has to run from one engagement to another.

Jot down your thoughts:

Focus on how you want to steer the conversation and jot down your thoughts in a systematic manner. Managers appreciate when their teammates share precise information in a short time. When you have a fixed agenda, both have a clarity about what the meeting is about. Also, the fixed agenda will help you stay clear of any emotional bursts.

During the meeting

Appreciate his/her time:

Your managers have a considerable number of responsibilities apart from attending feedback sessions. Thank them before you begin discussing the said agenda. It goes a long way and helps to break the ice.

How to share negative feedback

Do not start a rant about things that you don’t like. Respect the other person’s authority. While what you may have to say could be true from your perspective, you will not come across as a rational person. Make sure whatever you have to share is objective and logical.

For example, if you think a certain issue wasn’t handled appropriately. Explain the background, what you & other teammates were expecting out of the situation. Then share your take on how your manager’s actions did not help. And finally, also put forward what you think is the best course of action to avoid such problems in future.

When you put forth all the problems, also provide a list of suggestions that can help to overcome these problems. Your boss will appreciate the fact that you are not just complaining but also providing solutions.

The Ultimate Guide to giving feedback

How to share positive feedback

Everyone loves to get a positive feedback, as long as it’s true. Let the manager know how her initiatives helped you and others achieve goals in time. She will be glad to know how the team has been able to thrive under her guidance. Along with all these details, provide suggestions to reinforce this support in the future as well.

Make sure when you give feedback, it is not overdone to avoid being perceived as sycophancy.

Ask for feedback:

Apart from your team, your managers also work closely with you. But unlike your teammates, managers view your performance from a different perspective. Asking them for feedback will provide you with details that you would otherwise not notice about yourself. Also when you seek feedback, it shows that you are willing to accept suggestions and grow as an individual.

After the meeting

Follow up:

Once the meeting is over, note down the minutes and follow-up with your manager after a couple of days. It is necessary to identify the status of all the suggestions and commitments. Else it will be just like every other meeting where many ideas were discussed, but nothing is eventually implemented.

The more effectively the entire feedback process is handled, the more successful will it be at bringing about a positive change in the work environment. Be it for one person, team or the entire organisation.

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