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How to Give Feedback to Your Boss Without Getting Fired

Posted by Rick Yvanovich on Aug 1, 2013 9:30:00 AM

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.

Source: Profiles International.

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Topics: Communication Skill, 360 Degree Feedback

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    Rick Yvanovich
    Regional National Director

    With the Profiles International South East Asia Blog, it is our mission to help organizational leaders and HR professionals improve their performance and workforce productivity. 

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