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 Hi all, 

I'm a 27 year old front line manager from the UK with 5 years experience although after finding MT I realise how little I knew.

My boss has specifically asked me to give him feedback on his interactions with me ie. What I like, what I don't how to improve (all his words). 

Knowing that feedbackis not for your boss does anyone have any ideas how I can do this or avoid doing this without killing my career? 

Thanks in advance,

Jordan

 

dtiller's picture

My suggestion would be to smile and say ok and then never give any feedback.  If pressed, say you haven't noticed anything to give feedback on. 

 

dauphin's picture

I think its a mistake to miss this opportunity. Assuming your boss is doing this out of a genuine desire to know, vs an HR mandate, your boss wants to know that he ir she is helping to make you a great performer. Your boss might know that making you great is what it means to be a great boss.

I would say take the feedback model pretty much as presented in the peer model and deliver it as casually as possible. It may also help to simply acknowledge you feel a little weird about it, but that you are going to try to be direct. Start with positive--its easier to get more of good than less of bad because you know that they know how to do good, and they probably don't easily know how to change the bad right away. 

Hope that helps.

Dauphin

naraa's picture

 Jordan,

Please don´t use the feedback model with your boss.

If you do want to take the opportunity, use it to give your boss positive feedback.  Tell him what he is doing right and why is it right, in terms of the positive impact of what it has on your work, or so that he knows more about you, what you like, and what drives you to work harder.   Bosses are human too, and hearing what one is doing well (when they ask for it) always feels good. 

If you are even posting this question here is because you don´t know your boss well enough to know how he would take the feedback.  Mark always say their advice is for 90% of the managers 90% of the time.  If your boss is in the 10%, you can give him feedback.  If you are not sure, don´t do it.  Even if he is in the 10% that can take it, I can assure you he will never forget it.  Consciously one may be willing to accept the feedback from a direct, but unconsciously it is very hard to get over it.  Much more so if it is a difficult feedback to hear.   I heard once from a direct (because I asked for it) that she needed a bit more planning from my side, that it was very difficult for her to deal with surprises.  It was probably something I had to hear (I am a high I, high D), but my immediate thought to it (although I never said anything) was that I was the boss and she was the one that had to learn to deal with surprises.  And life was full of surprises and changes in direction.  I don´t think I hold it against her, not consciously and she certainly never felt it, but I never forgot it, and although I did change some of the way I manage things with her, I didn´t like having to do it because she had asked me to (strong high D!).

A good answer to his request (at least one I would like to hear) would be: "I like to think about what I can do differently to be more effective with others and not what others should.  I believe I am the one that should adjust to your management style.  I can tell you what works specially well with me with the way you manage me."  Of course, you can say that if it is true.  If you have a lot of criticism to your boss management style and not many important good things to talk about, just smile as Dtiller suggested.

Also manager-tools advice for feedback for directs is I believe 6 months before you move into negative feedback.  So by giving you negative feedback to your boss you break two of manager-tools rules: Don´t give feedback to your boss and don´t give negative feedback before you have given plenty of positive feedback.  Although, the second rule doesn´t really apply because the feedback tool does not apply to the boss.

Nara

Mark's picture

 We don't know your boss.  FAR too many bosses SAY they want feedback, and then defend why they do what they do (which defeats the purpose and worse poisons the process) or punish, subtly or otherwise, those who dare to disagree.

Maybe your boss is someone who can hear it.  But we'd doubt it.

And, there's a cast for that. (TM). ;-)

Mark

jdubu1's picture

 Thank you all,

 

Great to have some helpful advice.

 

Mark thanks for the personal reply.  It's that personal touch that has kept me listening since finding MT 6 months ago. I found the cast and have already listened to it. Guess what? I'm not going to give my boss feedback.  Shock I know.

 

Thanks again

Jordan

emjayess's picture

My boss sent out a "required" form via email for her directs to provide feedback directly to her also via email - with a two day turnaround time, by the way.

Given her personality (I think she can not take it), the challenges around effective email communication of such messages and your advice, I know I should not give feedback. How do I navigate this?

Thanks for any advice...

GlennR's picture

 

EmJayess,

You really have no choice, do you? Therefore it must be done.

It is designed to provide feedback and that feedback should be accurate (as you perceive it). Therefore it should be honest.

Given that it's an order, do it to the best of your ability and be honest about it since to be otherwise is unethical and a waste of time and could create more problems.

I've had a boss who was extremely sensitive to negative feedback. Were I giving feedback to him here is what I would do.

I would answer each question honestly, but I would think carefully about each of my responses and make sure they were grounded in reality and not emotion. For example, I would not use the form to settle scores or to harm. I might temper my ratings going with a more conservative one that was still honest yet gave him the benefit of the doubt.

 

Glenn

 

jrb3's picture

You will want to be as specific as you possibly can.  Any potential changes should feed into how you will make it easier to fulfill your role in support of him.  Perhaps like this:

"Last month, after the tornado, we were all under a lot of stress and grief.  Thanks especially for helping diffuse the anger and tension our customers and other departments couldn't help bringing into conversations, such as with Sue Harold at Our Biggest Customer Inc.  Since then, I've felt less aware of current priorities, as a side effect of having less time with you, you having to cover poor Tom's team while he's recovering from his tornado injuries.  I know you've had to readjust my people's assignments to meet some urgent shipments, which you didn't have to do before taking over for Tom.  Can you and I meet weekly for a half-hour update, so I can make sure you know what's up, and I can help you better meet whatever pressures you have to pass along to me and my people?"

What improvements I can suggest to my boss, really are ideas I'm offering from my current understanding of him, along with the stated goal and intent of me better understanding how to operate well within however he operates.  It's not "how can he improve" but "what can I learn of him, so I can improve my support of him".

-- Joseph (DiSC: 4247)

emjayess's picture

Thanks for the advice. I ended up taking the advice from the podcasts and giving incomplete and still honest input. Meaning, I did not express every opionion and still maintained authenticity. If that makes sense... If it sounds vague, it was! And it was successful, I got a big thank you for the input. Manager Tools saved me on this one! Thanks!

jl_herrera's picture

Bumping an older thread and yes, I've heard the podcast.  The situation I am in though, is that my boss' boss is the one asking for feedback on his report.  Basically the Head of Finance is asking me for feedback on my manager, for his year-end performance review.  This of course would be "confidential", but we all know how that works.

Thanks in advance.

Sullivja's picture

As with many of the comments on this thread previously what is being asked for is not "feedback" as described by Manager Tools. You are being asked for an "opinion" which is very different. The question of what to say depends on the circumstances.

I have been asked the same question before by a boss' boss and my advice is to be careful. At the time I was honest but cautious with my words to explain some of the difficulties I was having. A few weeks later my boss was sacked. This was a few years ago, before listening to Manager Tools and before being a Manager myself. My view now is that a good manager should know enough about their own directs performance to make decisions like these without having to go to their directs reports.

If the intent really is to seek information for a performance review then I would offer your opinion but carefully worded. In my organisation we have next up manager meetings and one of the questions asked is about the quality of supervision the person is getting. I find that the answers given are generally very low value as people are uncomfortable commenting on their managers performance.

Hope this helps

James

 

jl_herrera's picture

Thanks James, it does help.  I submitted the review and as you mention, I did choose my words wisely.  I am actually on a two week vacation so I'll see what comes of that once I return.  I have also had to write performance reviews for three of my peers. 

One thing that does strike me as strange, is that there is an "official" channel on our internal HR website to submit these types of reviews anonymously.  In the case I mention in my prior post, this was all done via email.

Anyway, I'll update this thread with my experience once I hear back.

Thanks again.

J.

dan west's picture

If your feet are held to the flames and you feel compelled to give feedback, make it positive feedback. Just emphasize the stuff you like and don't bring up areas for improvement.

I've worked for the same person for nearly 10 years now. The two of us have steadily been promoted throughout our time together. We are very close. To the point where I typically know where he will stand on an issue before it is raised. Even in that ideal situation, I very rarely give anything but positive feedback. 

My 2 cents. 

Dysprosium's picture

This is my short 2 cents:  If a boss wants real feedback with truth they would have HR coordinate a 360 with their reports.

 

 

JustHere's picture

The last two people that I know that gave feedback to their boss (and yes, their org used Manager Tools) got fired.  So, don't do it, even if the org boasts that they are open to feedback.