How to Deliver Feedback to your Manager or Boss.

There are some things in the working environment that are easier than others. 

For example, turning up on time everyday is easy! Trying to organise a Christmas Party that everyone will enjoy… impossible! 

Somewhere on that scale, probably towards the ‘difficult’ end of the spectrum is ‘providing feedback to my manager or boss’. 

The difficulty is (likely to be) relative to the relationship that you have with your boss, but for most people providing any form of feedback or constructive criticism ‘upline’ is not something that happens often and can therefore be stress-inducing. 

So how do you go about it?

Here are my top tips for making it go as smoothly as possible:

Pick your time and place.

This may sound obvious but for anyone to receive feedback they need to be in the right mental and physical state. I’d suggest arranging a meeting in their calendar, making sure they know that it’s about providing feedback, so they can decide if that time/place will work for them.

Have your feedback prepared.

Giving feedback will go a lot smoother if you are prepared and that means writing down notes of the things that you want to discuss along with specific examples that you can refer to. This reduces waffle and ‘white noise’ and cuts straight to the point. 

Be kind.

No one is perfect, even though most of us expect our bosses to be that, all of the time! If you are providing constructive feedback, make sure to add in some things that your boss does really well…and should keep doing!

Conclude feedback by paraphrasing.

Recap on why you thought it was important to have the conversation, the points you wanted to raise and what was discussed. Also remember to ask them how they are feeling about the discussion.

Follow up.

After the meeting takes place, make sure to check in with the person (even better- don’t leave it any more than 48 hours). 

Most leaders know that giving AND receiving feedback is crucial to self-development both professionally and personally.. Therefore most leaders will be open to feedback that can make them better even if it is hard to hear initially. 

Providing leaders in your company with feedback will ultimately improve it as a place to work and in that case, everyone’s a winner. 


Blog written by: Kris Flanagan, Managing Director.

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