Do you ever feel like you're not sure how to give feedback to your manager? You're not alone! Many employees feel uncomfortable giving feedback, especially when it's critical. However, providing feedback is an essential part of any working relationship - and it can be helpful for both the employee and the manager. In this blog post, we'll discuss the basics of employee feedback, including tips on how to give feedback and examples of good feedback conversations.
Giving feedback can be difficult, but it's important to remember that your goal is to improve your working relationship and help your manager become the best possible version of themselves.
Why is it important to give feedback to managers?
There are a few key reasons why employee feedback is essential, even (and especially) when it's critical.
First, feedback helps to improve communication. If you're not providing feedback, your manager may not be aware of areas where they need to improve. By giving feedback, you can help your manager to understand your perspective and open up a dialogue about how to improve the situation.
Second, employee feedback shows that you're invested in the company and your own professional development. When you give feedback, you're demonstrating that you want to see the company succeed - and that you're willing to put in the work to make it happen.
Finally, employee feedback can help to build trust between managers and employees. Trust is essential in any working relationship, and feedback can be a key part of developing that trust. When you give feedback, you're showing that you're willing to be vulnerable and honest with your manager.
When to give feedback to your manager?
When giving feedback, time and place are key. Take a moment to consider what it is that you want to say, how to phrase it well, and how receptive your manager will be.
The best time to give feedback is usually:
- In one-on-one meetings.
- Before or after a meeting, so you can address what went on in the meeting.
- During performance reviews.
When to avoid giving feedback to your manager?
There are a few times when you might want to avoid giving feedback to your manager.
First, if you're not in a position to give feedback, it's probably best to avoid the conversation. For example, if you're a new employee or you don't have much experience with the company, your manager might not be open to hearing your feedback.
Second, if you're not sure how your manager will react to feedback, it's probably best to avoid the conversation. If you're not sure if your manager is ready to hear critical feedback, it's probably best to wait until you have a better understanding of their reaction.
Thirdly, avoid springing your feelings on your manager minutes before they're about to give a presentation. Also, if you're feeling emotional about the situation, it's probably best to wait until you've had time to calm down and think about what you want to say.
It's also important to consider the context of your feedback. If your company is going through a difficult time, such as a layoff or restructuring, it might not be the best time to give feedback. In these cases, it's probably best to wait until things have settled down before having a conversation with your manager.
Finally, if you don't have a constructive purpose for giving feedback, it's probably best to avoid the conversation. If you're just trying to complain or vent, your manager is likely to tune out. However, if you have a specific goal or solution in mind, your manager will be more likely to listen to your feedback.
How to give feedback to your manager?
When you're giving feedback, it's important to be clear, concise, and specific. This way, your manager will be able to understand your perspective and take action to improve the situation.
It can also be helpful to use "I" statements, such as "I felt _____ when _____ happened." This will help your manager to understand your feelings and perspective, without making them feel defensive.
Finally, be sure to avoid general statements and empty compliments. For example, instead of saying, "You're doing a great job," try to be specific about what you appreciate. For example, "I really appreciate the way you _____."
Tips for Giving Feedback to Managers
Now that we've discussed the importance of employee feedback, let's take a look at some tips on how to give it effectively.
- First, start off on a positive note. Feedback is meant to be constructive, so try to focus on the things that your manager is doing well. For example, "I really appreciate how you always take the time to listen to my ideas" or "I think it's great that you're always willing to help out when I'm busy."
- Make sure that your feedback is specific. Vague comments like "you're doing a great job" are nice, but they don't give your manager any specific information about what they're doing well. Try to focus on one or two specific things that you've noticed and explain why you think it's important.
- Be aware of your tone. It's easy to come across as negative when you're giving feedback, even if you don't mean to. Remember to stay positive and avoid sounding judgmental or condescending.
- Pick one issue at a time. Don’t overwhelm your manager with lots of different feedback points, especially if they are negative in nature. Preferably, pick issues that are related.
- Offer a solution. Since you’re trying to help your manager, it’s good to approach the feedback process in a solution-oriented manner. After all, it’s about that team effort.
Examples of good feedback conversations
Here are a few examples of employee feedback that you can use as a starting point for your own conversations.
Feedback on involvement
Positive: "I really appreciate how you always take the time to listen to my ideas. I think it's important that everyone feels heard and valued, and I think you're doing a great job of that."
Negative: “Thank you for trusting me and the team, but I genuinely think that some clearer instructions would benefit everyone in the long run."
Feedback on morale
Positive: "I noticed that you've been coming in early and staying late to finish projects. I just wanted to let you know that the team and I really appreciate all your hard work."
Negative: “I know that we didn’t quite hit our targets this quarter, but I think if we work on keeping morale up, we’ll improve in the next quarter.”
Feedback on communication style
Positive: “Thanks for giving me and the team the direction and detail you give as a manager; This extra effort on your part really allows us to have fewer back-and-forth discussions and focus on success.”
Negative: "I think it would be helpful if we could meet for a brief catch-up every day. That way, I can update you on what I'm working on and get your feedback on how I'm doing. What do you think?"
By following these tips, you can ensure that your feedback conversations are productive, positive, and helpful for both you and your manager. Employee feedback is a valuable tool that can help to improve your working relationship and build trust between managers and employees.