Giving Your Boss Feedback

A reader recently asked how to give his boss feedback. Short answer – give your boss feedback in the same way and for the same reasons as he or she should be giving you feedback – to reinforce improvements and enhance performance.

  • The best method is the time-honored ‘Plus/Delta’ approach. ‘Pluses’ are specific examples of current workplace behaviors that are effective and should be continued or even expanded. ‘Deltas’ aren’t negatives or weaknesses, but specific changes in behavior that will enhance performance. The changes typically regard doing more of something that works or doing less of something that doesn’t.
  • It helps if you have an on-going constructive feedback relationship with your boss and regularly provide ‘Plus’ and ‘Delta’ comments. If not, start out small and easy. Focus on specific feedback about the team or department. Identify a problem or issue. Indicate why it should be changed and suggest positive outcomes. 
  •  Depending on how receptive your boss is to the input, you can transition to feedback about his or her performance over time.
  • It never hurts to ask the boss if he or she is interested in your constructive comments and how they should be delivered.

Job #1 – survive by not shooting yourself in your good foot. If you really feel your boss will shoot the messenger, keep quiet and start looking for a different job in a healthier environment.