How to Give Feedback to Your Manager

Giving and receiving feedback in a professional context might seem a bit intimidating at first. If that feedback is aimed at your manager, it’s likely to be even more intimidating. How can you ensure that you’re not offending your manager while also giving them feedback intended to improve your relationship and their work?

Here are some steps to follow when giving your manager feedback.

Establish a positive relationship with your manager

One of the keys to giving feedback (in any context) is ensuring that you have a relationship with the person beforehand. Since feedback is meant to help the person on the receiving end, knowing them and their work is a key factor in being able to deliver the kind of thoughtful observations that will help them improve. In order to establish this relationship with your manager, it’s important to build trust by taking initiative in your role and by asking for feedback yourself and acting on it. This will go a long way toward showing your manager that you value the relationship and that you’re providing them with feedback designed to improve on an already positive working relationship.

Ask for permission to give feedback

Before giving your manager any feedback, it’s important to ensure that they’re receptive to it and that the timing is right. You can do this by asking them if you can share some thoughts on an existing project or if they are providing you with feedback on something and you’d like to expand the conversation, you can offer them some feedback in return.

The best way to ask for permission by framing the question as something that would be helpful to you as their employee. For example, when giving feedback related to a particular project, you can say something like, “What would be really helpful to me would be to have some concrete steps in place for this next phase.” This will show your manager that your feedback is ultimately related to delivering the best results possible and will help them understand how they can help you do that.

Depersonalize the feedback

Another key component of giving your manager feedback is to make it impersonal. Rather than saying something like, “I don’t like it when you do XYZ,” you can say something like, “Something that’s worked for me very well in the past with previous managers has been XYZ.” This will shift the focus away from anything personal and onto your professional relationship.

Write it out

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to say, it’s important to write it out and refine your delivery. This is a great way to ensure that your feedback is both effective and sensitively. After you have an initial draft, take another look at it and practice saying it as you would to your manager. If something doesn’t sound quite right, refine it and try again. By the second or third draft, you’ll likely have it just right and you’ll be ready to discuss it with your manager.

Although giving your manager feedback might seem a bit stressful, by focusing on how you can improve your working relationship and how you can help them help you, you’ll be able to deliver the kind of feedback that managers appreciate and that makes the whole team stronger.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

How to Answer an Employee Feedback Questionnaire

With many companies turning feedback into an ongoing process, feedback platforms are increasingly being used to find out what employees think about their roles and about the company in general. If you’ve never given formal feedback before, you might be wondering what to expect from this process and how you can make the most of the feedback you provide. A great way to start is by knowing what questions to anticipate and preparing to answer those questions as honestly and effectively as possible.

Here are the questions you’re most likely to encounter on an employee feedback questionnaire.

1. Do you feel challenged in your role?

When an employer asks this question, it’s because they want to know that you’re feeling stimulated by your role and that you’re not bored by the day-to-day tasks involved. The key to answering it effectively is to be honest about whether or not you find the role challenging and to back this up with examples of specific things you find challenging (or too easy).

2. Do you feel you know where to find help when you need it?

This question is designed to ensure that you know what support is available to you at any given time and to assess how comfortable you are seeking out that help. The best way to answer it is by explaining the steps you take whenever a problem comes up. If you tend to tackle problems on your own because you’re not sure where to find help, be sure to mention that and explain what resources you’d like to have instead.

3. What’s your preferred working style?

Focusing on your personal work style, this question aims to understand you better as both a person and an employee. For example, if you’re someone who works best in a quiet environment, your employer will be able to use the information you provide in the feedback form to adapt your working environment to your needs. This will help you do your job more easily while also ensuring that you’re able to meet the goals the company sets for you.

4. What would you say is the biggest issue you experience on a regular basis at work?

Being able to tell your employer about a challenge you face on a regular basis is extremely important. This will allow them to address the problem directly while making your day-to-day work experience much more pleasant. The best way to answer this question is by being as honest as possible about the problem while providing concrete examples of how it affects your work. For example, if you’re not able to meet productivity goals because you’re constantly working through technical issues, this is a great time to mention that.

5. What is one practical step we could take to help make your job easier?

Finally, one of the most helpful things you can tell your employer is how they can make your job easier. This can be anything from moving your desk to changing your goals. Whatever it is, it should be be something that will have a big impact on your work and your morale.

Giving your employer feedback is a great way to ensure that the company is able to support you in your role while also being aware of any challenges you might be facing. By answering these questions honestly and keeping the focus on actionable steps, you’ll be able to help your employer create a positive working environment for you and for the company.

* This article was written in partnership with the team at Impraise.