How to Give Feedback to Your Boss – Guest Post on “White Noise”

I had the privilege of putting up a guest blog at White Noise yesterday, check it out! It’s all about how to give feedback to your boss. Karl’s guest post on this blog will be coming on Monday.

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2 responses to “How to Give Feedback to Your Boss – Guest Post on “White Noise”

  1. Bernie, I just read your post on “How to Give Feedback to Your Boss”.

    It bugs me that many think feedback is only about bad things. Feedback should happen regularly, and it needs to be about good things as well as things that didn’t work.

    I am a big supporter of staff giving me feedback, but that requires me to fulfill the flip side: as their manager, I have to make sure they are comfortable giving me that feedback.

    But, when feedback is about something negative, to help minimize that emotional gut reaction that every human being has, we’ve learned to couch the comment in what they need. Instead of “You never answer my e-mails promptly.”, ask instead “what can I do to make it easier for you to answer my e-mails?”. This feedback triggered a department discussion about how to use e-mail to communicate clearly and concisely. To learn this skill, we all took a one-day course about it – and we learned a lot. We came out aware that we could all do this better. The net result – I answer (most) e-mail promptly… I know I have to keep working at it.

    This is just one example of how feedback created an improved process. Because feedback works, I regularly remind my staff that if something isn’t right, keeping silent won’t help fix it.

    It takes time to develop that level of rapport, but it is well worth it. With that trust in place, we all see “feedback” as a good thing. It not only helps us improve what needs improving, it also reinforces what we do right.

    Jessica

  2. You’re exactly right Jessica. Most see “feedback” as a negative thing, because that’s been their experience. It’s like your significant other saying “We need to talk.” It raises the hair on the back of our necks.

    Yet feedback is the fuel of champions. High performers thrive on constant, constructive assessment of their progress towards their goals. In my own experience the best places to work were the ones where it was safe to give such feedback.

    It’s really a matter of changing our own habits as leaders. Giving feedback for us should be as natural as breathing, and most of it should be positive. Some of the reading I’ve done suggests it should be as high as 90% positive and 10% corrective.

    How, when, and to whom to give feedback will be coming up in another post. Stay tuned!

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