How to Give Your Boss Constructive Criticism
Employee reviews have long been an intrinsic part of professional development. Although it can at times be difficult to accept, constructive criticism can also be a vital tool to improving and developing professional skills that are vital to career advancement.
The rise of 360-degree feedback means your ability to provide constructive criticism on the performance of fellow employees and even supervisors can also be a reflection on your contributions to the team. A full-circle appraisal or multi-source assessment usually involves several of an employee’s subordinates, peers and managers in addition to the employee’s own self-assessment. The objective is to assist employees in thinking more broadly – beyond their manager’s expectations – and thus support team-building and team initiatives.
But it’s also a forum in which you could find yourself tasked with the delicate duty of critiquing your boss’ job performance.
Constructive criticism can be hard to take when you’re on the receiving end of it; even harder is giving it to your superior. But feedback in the workplace is essential to achieving professional goals through behavior modification. It’s simply part of maintaining a healthy working relationship, improving as a team member and of course, growing the hotel’s business.
If you’re asked to complete a form, you’ll have the time to reflect on what you’d like to say and how you’d like to present that information. A face-to-face meeting can be trickier. But the objective of these discussions is to keep the conversation flowing in a productive direction. Accusations, blame and vindictiveness have no place here. Also, an already established level of trust and a positive working relationship with your boss doesn’t give you license to speak to him or her like a peer in this situation. No matter how in-depth your water cooler discussions about your personal lives are, offer constructive feedback must be done in the most professional manner possible.
Give careful thought and consideration to the points that you want to raise and how they could be best said so as not to put your boss on the defensive. Remember that your criticisms will generate behavioral outcomes that are circular; the feedback is truly 360 degrees. So leaving your supervisor feeling unfairly criticized risks his or her commitment to your working relationship and can cause him or her to feel less enthused, less engaged and less interested in your professional development.
Don’t be vague. You want to be clear and very specific, which is to say that you want to cite examples at every instance possible. Saying things like “I don’t like how you assign projects to me” is not likely to improve anything. Explaining what you specifically believe can be enhanced and why is much more impactful for everyone involved.
Instead, consider trying something like: “when you assign me a project and detail which teams members I need to collaborate with on particular elements of the project, it would be even more helpful if you could specify the outcomes that you want us to achieve rather than just the step-by-step process that we should follow.”
It’s also important to offer feedback from your viewpoint and not that of your supervisor. In other words, do not tell him or her how you would do their job if you were in their position because you’re not in their position. So this type of feedback is irrelevant. There are also aspects of your boss’ job that you aren’t aware of; he or she may work in a particular way due to directives from their superiors, company-wide goals or financial requirements. So limit feedback to your perspective and your experiences working together on specific projects and tasks. Explain your concerns and ask your manager for his or her take on the pointes that you raise.
At the end of the day, there are always supervisors who simply do not take criticism from their subordinates well. Chances are, you will already know before the review process begins if you work for one of these bosses. Should you find yourself in a position where you are obligated by company policy to provide your supervisor with feedback, protect the relationship by positing questions that will lead him or her to draw the conclusion that you want them to arrive at. Your manager may be more amenable to new ideas when presented as “Has anyone ever tried it like this?”