33. How To Give Your Boss Feedback



How To Give Your Boss Feedback

Career limiting or an opportunity? Continuing with our theme of FAQs I get asked when working with leaders. This is a classic one that gets asked, 'How do I give feedback to my boss?'.


Hi, welcome back to a series on questions asked. So these are questions that come up regularly through my work with coaching leaders or working with leadership training and development. And this is a classic one that gets asked, is, "How do I give feedback to my boss?" And most people consider trying to give feedback to their boss as either career-limiting, or is it really an opportunity? So let's explore, how do we give feedback to our boss.

Obviously, with a bit of sensitivity, there's a good place to start.

1. Prepare - define your goal

So once again, if we're going to have any sort of conversation with a team member or with your boss, you need to do some preparation work. So it's really important you're very clear, you've defined your goal. What do you want out of this conversation? What do you wanna achieve by giving your boss feedback? Sounds obvious, but quite often this is a step we miss, which means we get in front of our boss and we start getting flustered and concerned, and we don't get our message across. So defining a goal's a really good step.

2. Choose the right time - no ambushing

Next thing is, choose the right time. You don't wanna ambush your boss, so you need to give 'em a bit of lead time and say, "Look, I'd really appreciate if we get together "and have a chat, there are a few situations "that are taking place that I'd like to discuss "with you and get your feedback on."

3. Declare your intent - your why

And you need to declare your intent, why you're doing it. It could be impacting you on your decision making, it could be impacting you on your confidence, in your role, it could be that maybe they're micromanaging you and that's now becoming a frustration. Whatever it is, be very clear up front with them as to why you need to have this conversation. It's only natural that they will be a little defensive, we are all pretty much, if we're honest, in defence mode when somebody's trying to give us constructive feedback.

4. Provide practical options / suggestions

The next thing is provide practical options and suggestions. So in declaring our situation, when we're having this conversation, we need to explain to them what we need from them. So if we're not getting what we need, and this a reason you're giving feedback, explain to them what you need and why you need it, and what impact will that have as a result of them doing that. And obviously you're looking for a win-win.

5. Demonstrate loyalty (your motivation)

So, the key message that you wanna get across, is you're being loyal by doing this, not disloyal. There's a big difference in terms of their perception of your intent. Clarify your intent, be practical about what you require of them, and let them understand your motivation. Your motivation, in this case, is to actually be able to do your work and deliver on their expectations, and that's why you're having this conversation.

6. Remember - your boss has feelings too!

Remember your boss has feelings too. Oh! That's a surprise is it? Yeah, they also have the same issues and problems that we do, and quite often this is something that will cause great concern to them when you actually talk about wanting to give them some feedback. Set the record straight by getting this part clear, and it'll lead into a good conversation.

7. Be direct but be respectful

And be direct, and be respectful. We can actually do this conversation, or this process can apply in many different scenarios. All the way through, if you're clear on your motivation, and you're being direct about what it is that you require and why, and you're doing it in a respectful way, you'll pretty much always get a listening ear. So, it may take a couple of attempts over time to perfect this, but once you do, you'll build a much better relationship with your immediate leader. So I look forward to seeing you in future videos.

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