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Ok, I know that we supposed to openly communicate. Mark has said that that is a great thing that should be rewarded. My boss insists that I tell her if I have insights into how a plan might result in less than satisfactory results, or could be done more effectively. We have a very strong relationship and great mutual respect. She wants to know where it could go wrong, I figure that I am protecting her by telling her what I think and ultimately making her plan look great (which is what I would hope a direct would do for me).

How is that different than providing feedback to her, which I understand is not a good thing? Can anyone help me recognize the difference more clearly?

Mark's picture

[For the purpose of this post, I will use feedback to mean negative/adjusting feedback.  If you want to give positive feedback to your boss, just say thnk you!]

Feedback is intended to change the behavior of the recipient.  You have no power over your boss to change her behavior.  Further, in this case, you're NOT talking about behavior...you're talking about a plan.

If your boss produces a plan, or a draft, or shares an idea she's germinating, BY ALL MEANS share your thoughts.  That's NOT feedback, because you're talking about ideas or concepts, which are not behavior.  Yes, technically a plan she creates is her work product...but it's not also YOUR work product, as your direct's WP is.

This is not, however, a license to tell your boss she's stupid.  There are ways to share when you disagree.  And there are ways to characterize those areas you agree with.  (Future casts).  Think about a feel-felt-found that is see-seen-share... (and yes, that's my invention.  ;-) )

So, sure, share.  It's not feedback, which our guidance...'proscribes'. ;-)

jhack's picture

"see-seen-share" ...  very nice construct!  

It's immediately apparent how it would be useful.   

John Hack

430jan's picture

This is a question I have had for a while. I kind of know it instinctively, but I also knew that I would get some insight on explaining it behaviorally in more concrete terms. Makes good sense. Thank you.