I just wanna firstly say that I've been listening to Manager Tools for a nearly two years and I think it's absolutely awesome. I listen to it almost everyday, in the gym, in the car, or whenever I needed a bit of interllectual stimulants (but i'm not a complete psycho, and I do listen other podcasts too!). And I think that you guys give too much away for free!

Anyway, I have heard repeatedly that "never give your boss feedback" because it's detrimental to your career. What do you recommend, if you think that your boss is being ineffective and makes poor managerial decisions that negatively impact your productivity and that of your team? My boss doesn't do one-on-ones. In fact, we had our "annual review" last week for the first time in 2 and a half years, so his relationship power with the team is, I believe, poor. He frequently gives negative feedback against new ideas and changes. Is leaving the company the only option that I have left?

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 A relationship has two ends, you and them.  If your manager isn't building a good relationship with you then you can still try to build a relationship with them.  You can also build a relationship with, your peers, their peers and their boss.

Giving feedback to your boss, in particular when there is no relationship, is usually very career limiting, even career terminating.  Once you've built that relationship you might be able to make the odd suggestion (espcially if you've built up your expertise power).  Work on the relationships, be professional, be supportive, maybe even be friendly (whilst respecting the power difference), celebrate successes, mitigate failures but don't give feedback.

There's a cast ( about how to get an O3 with your boss, not calling them a One on One seeming to be a key factor.  If you haven't already (or did but some time ago) give it a listen. 

If your boss is that bad then there's a good chance that those above are aware and may be looking to do something about it, showing yourself as a natural sucessor should your boss choose to take up opportunities elsewhere (in a none threatening and professional way) might be an advantage.



Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge, the cast on managing your boss, where we recommend you know what your boss wants, and how he likes to be communicated with, etc.

DO NOT give your boss feedback.


jocadl's picture

What really startled me was your closing question: "Is leaving the company the only option I have left?"

It's not black and white. How about tolerance? Demonstrate to yourself and to everyone that you can deliver results DESPITE the difficult environment. Think of him as a difficult client. Or adverse weather. You can't choose or change those either.

Milo223's picture

 Working with a boss who is a poor "people" manager is a very difficult proposition. I work at an engineering firm where managers are selected based on their technical abilities only. This results in typically poor management of their directs and their career development. It's even harder now after listening to so many of the career tools and manager tools podcasts to keep patient with them. I wish there were a way to get them to utilize these amazing and free tools provided to us by Mark and Mike. I've passed the website on to my boss and he disregarded it. I assume that he may have taken offense. This is a hard subject to approach with your boss and you are likely better off to not even attempt it if you don't have a good relationship with him/her.

I too, thought well is my only option leaving the company? I've just decided that I'll work through the adversity and when I have my own team I'll apply the principals I've learned from Mike and Mark and hopefully I can cascade the ideas down from there by setting an example and directing my employees to career tools and manager tools.


Anyways, this is my first post on here and the subject really hit home. Best of luck to you in your situation.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Milo -

Good thoughts for your first post, sir.  Work through it.

And, hope may not be a method, but it is a good thing, perhaps the best of things.


TNoxtort's picture


Welcome to the board. I work in the pharmaceutical industry and it is same thing. People are promoted based on technical experience, and more so, products they've submitted for regulatory approval. I too find it hard when I've listened to many casts from MT tools.

The good thing though, is that I feel folks above seem to notice. I have gotten a little more of a leadership position on my project, which is good too.

RichRuh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge


We've all been there.  Use the MT techniques with your team to get great results.  Then don't be surprised if your boss notices and starts adopting these techniques himself.   Getting results is ultimately much more convincing than sending a podcast link!



abshhkc's picture

Thanks for all the inputs. I hunt down the podcasts as recommended, I thought they were very useful.

My boss was promoted based on his sales achievements, and now he is struggling to manage the team while fulfilling his own target. Though I do have to admit that I have been neglecting the importance of managing the relationship with my boss  As MT repeatedly reminds us that being right doesn't make useffective, and I guess I should strive on being effective before being right.

I do have a question, how do I go about getting more o3 time with my boss? Since my boss has done 1 review with me in over 2 years, he'll undoubtedly object to doing weekly scheduled O3 meetings.

As it turns out, I am leaving the company anyway, to do an MBA, so wish me luck!


mmann's picture
Licensee Badge


You can't really get your boss to do O3s.  The best you can do is covered in the Boss One-on-Ones cast.