5 tips on giving constructive upward feedback [Poll]
No one is perfect, and your boss is no exception. Whatever the issue is, it’s important to let your boss know – after all you are spending a majority of your time at work, and getting along is key to achieving common professional goals.
Still, it appears that people in Malaysia aren’t proactively delivering feedback to their managers and supervisors. According to a recent Monster poll, only 18% feel very comfortable sharing feedback, while 27% of the surveyed individuals said that they wouldn’t even think of giving upward feedback to their managers.
For many, the stumbling block is their inability to communicate effectively, while for others the prospect of speaking to an authority figure can be daunting. It’s not easy to handle uncomfortable conversations, but here are a few tips that will help you give constructive feedback.
Don’t get personal
Before calling your manager into a meeting, take some time to think about your problem objectively. Is your boss affecting your productivity? Is he/she taking credit for your achievements? Do you dread coming into work? If so, then it’s time to have a chat with him/her.
Although it is acceptable to discuss certain personal characteristics, especially if it interferes in your output, much of your feedback should stay within professional limits.
Offering feedback in the right context will increase your chances of succeeding and actually facilitating a change at work. Don’t just tell your boss what’s going wrong, but back it up with concrete examples.
Whether it’s positive or negative, being specific in your feedback will make you look professional. If you framing your feedback in the right context, there’s a possibility your boss may not even be offended and would actually see it as an attempt to improve and streamline the workflow.
While we wouldn’t recommend glossing over your problems, it’s also important not to dwell on the negatives. Instead, make solutions the focal point of your conversation. For example, if your boss tends to make last minute changes, your feedback should focus on how to improve the situation. Suggesting to revise the approval process in order to maintain tight deadlines is one way of framing the issue.
Combine the negative with the positive
Nobody likes to get negative feedback alone. As there is always something positive to highlight, you should begin your feedback with that. Once you have mentioned what’s working, it will be easier to bring up what isn’t.
Follow the formula
If you are still nervous about addressing any issues, you can try to follow a formula that gives a bit of structure for your feedback. Focus on one action, result, and solution.
You shouldn’t forget that not everybody is ready to receive upward feedback. Don’t be thrown off by a defensive manager, but use the formula to focus on the facts and get your point across. As long as you are following what is mentioned above, you should not have a problem offering feedback to your boss.
Check out another poll on how happy Malaysians are at their workplace.
Poll results for Malaysia
How comfortable do you feel giving upward feedback to your manager?
23% - Somewhat comfortable
32% - Comfortable
18% - Very comfortable
27% - I wouldn’t think of it