Managers aren’t always perfect – let’s face it. And if you’re dealing with a boss with idiosyncrasies that affects your performance – you know it’s time for some constructive upward feedback. According to a recent poll conducted by Monster, only 30% of professionals in the Philippines feel ‘comfortable’ giving upward feedback.
We’ve all been there before and there’s no denying how difficult it is to really say what’s on your mind – giving feedback to your boss can sometimes land you in a tricky situation. Here are four tips that will help you feel more confident and help you plan what you want to say before having a feedback conversation with your boss.
Schedule a time to talk
Sharing feedback with your boss takes a lot of preparation and the worst thing you can do to your boss is surprise him or her in a situation where they feel caught off guard. Instead, you can send a note to set up a specific time to talk. With careful planning, you can still give your manager the feedback he or she needs to help both of you succeed.
Jot down a few general areas of concern, focusing on issues you think are critical to address and any supporting details that will help spark a productive conversation. Run through mails, meeting notes or any other evidence that points towards a unsettling habit or behaviour. While it may be tempting to bring up every little pet peeve, if you haven’t put it in your notes in the first place, don’t bring it up. Keep the discussion focused on the points you’ve prepared to address, and make sure you get your point across clearly.
Choose face to face over email
While sharing your feedback on email is tempting, it’s best to talk face to face when giving feedback. It might be awkward than just typing up your suggestions and hitting send, but having a real conversation will ensure the message you want to deliver is the one received. Body language is critical and often says more than spoken words; if you go into the meeting in a relaxed manner, you can start things off with the right tone. And if you see your boss getting tensed up, you can adjust your tone and clarify your words so that the conversation stays meaningful.
Make sure your feedback is impactful – be succinct and specific. For example, “When you brief me on an assignment, rather than list of the deliverables you could give me the goals and desired outcomes. It will help me manage expectations,” is better than saying, “I’m not very comfortable with the way you give project briefs.” The second isn’t actionable and doesn’t give your manager insight on how to change or improve.