How to Give Constructive Feedback to Your Boss… Without Risking Your Job

By Eva Wislow

Everyone has some remarks on the attitude and work of their boss. You’ll often hear these statements when talking about work:

  • “My boss is terrible. He’s completely out of touch with reality.”
  • “My boss is okay… He’s kind and all that, but he’s always late for work and he seems lazy.”
  • “Oh, she imposes impossible deadlines and expects us to be superheroes. She never pays for extra hours.”

It’s safe to say that every boss has negative qualities in their character. They are only human, after all. Sometimes you suck it up and bear with the pressure. Sometimes, however, you feel the need to speak up.

When your constructive feedback can make a real change in the organization, it’s important to speak up. In fact, most bosses are not okay with employees staying quiet when they know that things are taking the wrong turn.

But how do you do it? How do you give such constructive feedback without risking your job?

1. Do It One on One

At the end of a meeting, your boss usually asks: “Does anyone have something to say about this?” If you only plan to present few ideas, go ahead; this is the moment.

If you plan to criticize the boss, however, you should never do it in front of other people. “I believe you’re taking a completely wrong approach to this project” is something they don’t want to hear at in a crowded room.

It’s best to do this in private. Ask to see the boss in their office. If you make a case out of your critique, they will certainly take it into consideration. They will also appreciate the fact that you wanted to see them in private.

2. Mind the Timing

You can usually tell when your boss is having a really bad day. Even if they are usually grumpy, they will be even grumpier on a bad day. It’s important to watch them. You don’t want to tell your boss they are doing things wrong when they are in a really bad mood.

When you notice that your boss is okay, you can ask to see them. Needless to say, you won’t want to ruin their good day with your criticism. That’s why you’ll elaborate it in the right way. The remaining tips of this article cover that point.

3. Show Some Grace

You have to be polite and graceful. You’re not their superior. You still have the right to critique their steps and decisions, but you mustn’t do it from a viewpoint of a superior or someone who knows better than them.

When approaching your boss with a critique, make it friendly and conversational. Tell them you have some ideas you’d like them to consider. Then, present your critique in the form of ideas for improvement.

Instead of saying “I don’t think you’re doing social media marketing properly,” you can say “I think there’s a better way to do our social media marketing. I have few ideas I’d like to share with you.”

4. Make a Strong Case

Constructive criticism

Show them some data that will prove your opinions right.

The critique should not be based on mere personal opinions. “I don’t like how you’re approaching this project” is not an authoritative critique.

Always use strong arguments and support them with facts. Why do you think there’s room for improvement? How do you suggest them to make improvements? Show them some data that will prove your opinions right.

When you bring the facts on, the boss is highly likely to consider your idea. Even if they don’t, you’ll still know you did the right thing about warning them.

5. Know Your Limits

Starting to talk about the things you don’t like is the scariest part. When you go through that point, however, it’s easy to get carried away. You’ll start thinking: “I finally got the courage, so I’m gonna say everything I’ve been thinking all this time.”

Stop! You have to know your limits. You’re not trying to get fired, are you?

Do not make this personal. Be professional and focus on a specific project or aspect of work. Treat your boss with utmost respect and don’t heat up the discussion.

A Good Critique Is Worthy of Respect

When you manage to criticize your boss in the right way, you might even gain their respect. If you see them acting upon some of your suggestions, it means your critique yielded results. Be proud of that!

If you don’t see them improving anything although you’re convinced you were right, well… you did what you could do. From that point on, you can either stay to see how things evolve, or you can start looking for a position at an organization that provides a better working environment.

About the author:

Eva Wislow is a career coach and HR Executive at resume writing service CareersBooster. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. She finds her inspiration in writing and peace of mind through yoga. Connect with Eva on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *