Bottom-line: Do I give feedback on my boss and risk the chance of my boss taking anything negative badly? Or not give feedback and be seen by upper management as unable to give adjusting feedback on people? Or give something lame and look lame?
I've been asked by my boss's boss for feedback. I was told by someone else in the organization that there are people don't think my boss should have been put in the job and is not capable of doing it! I think that's a little harsh because he doesn't control some things they blame him for. They laid off one whole project group under my boss and just gave 1/3 of my boss's team to another manager. BUT my boss seems to be really tight with his boss... Several people have said he seems to be the favorite - until the recent shift in staff.
Until a few years back, I usually gave my top 2 things they did well and 2 things to improve with positive suggestions on actions. I'd also cite specific examples for everything. I had been told by Management above me that one of the ways they judge managers is on their ability to give good critical feedback.
An added wrinkle is that the review scores are already set. The company does that before we actually do our reviews. I personally solved this problem by asking people for feedback all through the year and doing quarterly reviews.