How to Provide Feedback to Your Boss

Feedback enables leaders to improve their performance and learn about their blind spots. Leaders can improve systems, behavior and knowledge gaps with input from direct reports, peers and managers. When giving your manager feedback, you may fear offending them—still, constructive advice is vital. The key is knowing how to provide feedback to your boss to build trust and strengthen your organization.

Why Should You Provide Feedback to Your Boss?

Giving honest and consistent feedback builds an open relationship. The established communication line enables you to discuss things effectively should problems arise. You may feel your workload is unmanageable, your progress has stalled or your organization’s processes can be streamlined. When you have created a space where practical and candid conversations can happen, you will be happier, and your company will benefit from your insights.

Giving your boss feedback helps them identify areas of growth and improvement, making them a better leader.

How to Give Feedback to Your Boss

Whether you are giving feedback directly or anonymously to your boss, knowing how to do so effectively is crucial to establishing a culture of trust and open communication.

360° Feedback Reviews

Understanding how to give 360° feedback to your boss is helpful. Instead of one person giving input, various people—subordinates, peers, colleagues and supervisors—provide anonymous feedback. This collective information is shared with the individual, giving them an overview of their performance. Even when reviews are anonymous, always be empathetic and objective and include positive feedback.

Collective 360° feedback provides some data, but may not be specific or timely enough or offer adequate context. Direct feedback can address gaps.

Direct Feedback

Keep direct feedback constructive, be empathetic and give examples when offering suggestions. Feedback should be solutions-oriented, respectful and candid. Provide positive examples and areas in which your boss is excelling.

Remember to give feedback in the appropriate settings—avoid providing input in front of clients, during group meetings or after hours. Instead, use performance reviews, in-person chats or time before or after meetings to give constructive suggestions.

Professional and candid communication takes training and development. Taking a course can help.

Learn More About Giving Feedback to Your Boss

At The Center for Leadership Studies, we have trained over 15 million leaders. Our Situational Leadership® methodology and innovative courses equip leaders to engage in effective performance feedback, building trust and strengthening their organization.

With over 50 years of experience in local and international markets and an extensive network of 200 learning professionals, we can help. Contact us for course information.