A friend, reading my last post about managers providing feedback to employees, asked about the reverse situation: how employees could provide feedback to managers. A counter-question is why is the question being asked at all. After all, if a person could have given a particular piece of feedback to a manager, he would have already done so and not worried about how to give it.
So the situation is that the employee does not know how the manager would receive the advice. Or, he thinks or knows that the manager would receive it in the wrong way. Perhaps, providing the feedback could lead to retaliation or retribution in some active or passive form.
My position, therefore, is if there are any risks associated with providing the feedback and if you are uncomfortable with facing the downsides of that risk, then don’t do it. As in everything you do, if the cost-benefit analysis does not work into your favor, then let it go.
Now, the next counter-question is: why did you want to give the feedback in the first place? If you are not personally benefiting in any way, the solution becomes even more of a slam dunk. There is no point in helping someone who is in the habit of beating down people who want to help them. It is just not worth it.
But what if the manager’s fault is something that affects your work? Maybe you are being less productive because of the manager’s antics. There is no single correct way to address this, but here are a few possible courses of action:
- Try to understand if there is a misunderstanding between yours and the manager’s points of view.
- Buy more time from the manager to do your work. This can reduce pressure and reduce tensions between the two of you.
- Accept the manager’s faults and try to work around them. If they cannot change their ways, maybe you can ignore them and try a different approach.
- Maybe some problems are not worth correcting if they are only minor irritants. Ignore them if you can.
- Gain the manager’s confidence and trust and thus be in a position where you can talk to them frankly.
Sometimes, of course, nothing works especially if your boss is an incorrigible jerk. There is always an option of changing your boss by leaving to a different company or within the same company to a different department. Practically, changing jobs may not be feasible presently for various reasons (economy, family, etc.), but it is something that should not be discounted.