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  • Writer's pictureMalina Ahmad

How to give negative feedback to a manager?

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Are you struggling to give negative feedback to your manager?

We understand the jitters that come with it! But don’t worry, giving feedback is actually super important for boosting engagement and creating a positive company vibe. If you want to enjoy a more open and honest work atmosphere, don't hold back your upward feedback!

“Upward feedback” — an employee’s review of their boss’s performance. To help managers improve by gaining insights into team dynamics, perception, and areas for growth.

When to give your manager feedback?

Before sharing feedback, take a moment to evaluate what you want to say and how best to say it. If your manager acted out one time on a bad day, you can probably let it pass. But if you notice this behaviour repeatedly, you might need to bring it up!

To effectively provide negative feedback or address your frustrations, it's important to understand why you feel that way. When you talk about it, it's best to do it privately with your boss to avoid causing a scene with your colleagues.

The best times to provide feedback to your managers are during:

📋 One-on-one meetings with your boss

🖊️ Performance reviews

How to give your manager feedback?

We highly recommend using the Situation-Behavior-Impact Model (SBI) for giving feedback. It's a simple tool that helps you deliver feedback on the spot and in a structured way. Just follow the three stages of SBI and you'll be able to give your honest feedback while still being professional and respectful!

How to use this framework?

🔴 Situation

First off, fill your manager in on the details of the situation or context where the behaviour took place. Keep it short and simple, and avoid using vague terms like "the other day" or "in that meeting last week." The more specific the details, the better!

For example:

“During yesterday's team meeting, when discussing the new project, you interrupted and dismissed my suggestions.”

🟣 Behaviour

Next, focus on describing the specific behaviours you want to talk about. This step can be challenging as it requires communicating only the behaviours you have personally observed. Remember to avoid making assumptions or personal opinions about other people's behaviour, as these can be inaccurate and undermine the effectiveness of your feedback!

For example:

“I noticed that you cut me off mid-sentence and stated that my ideas wouldn't work without providing any explanation or opportunity for discussion.”

🟢 Impact

Finally, share how the behaviour made you feel or the consequences it had on the situation, relationship, or team dynamics. It helps to be specific and honest about the effects it had on you or the team.

For example:

“I felt discouraged and unheard, hindering my willingness to contribute in future sessions. I believe it also impacted the team's creative collaboration, as it discouraged others from sharing their thoughts openly. It's important for us to foster an environment where everyone's ideas are valued and given a fair chance to be considered.”

IMPORTANT TIPS : Throughout the process, emphasise the importance of finding positive solutions, and avoid playing the blame game!

After delivering your feedback, it’s important to encourage your manager to reflect on the situation and consider the impact of their behaviour. It’s possible that they may not agree with your assessment or hold a different perspective - so, keep an open mind and continue the conversation with a willingness to listen and understand their viewpoint!

We hope these help! 😉

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