Your boss is your immediate senior and he is not used to hearing criticism from his staff. On your part, you are also not so eager to criticize him. However, criticism is an integral part of any job and you might not like it, but you are expected to provide an evaluation of your immediate boss during yearly performance reviews. What if you have any negative feedback about your boss?

For management staff, receiving negative feedback from a junior is tough, no doubt. But if it is done the right way; it could actually improve your working relationship with your boss. It also provides the opportunity to find joint solutions for the problems you are facing and improves your productivity.

Constructive feedback given directly to your boss could make him improve. In the end, smart bosses want smart employees who will make them look better and work better. If your boss gets promoted because of your help and criticism, there is a good chance that you will be considered for an upper management post.

However how you offer negative feedback to your boss is critical. Here are some ways to do it without getting fired.

  • Keep it Professional

Stay away from personal issues and be introspective about what you want to say.

Your boss has the right to criticize your work if it is not up to the mark. But if you feel that the boss has been unfair, say so and provide reasons why you think so. Be prepared with necessary details to back your point of view. The more practical or impartial you seem, the better your feedback is accepted. The boss knows you are not targeting him personally.

  • Start positive

Always praise positive points and understand where your superior is coming from.

Being negative is easy but it is just as necessary to praise positive points. Start your feedback with statements like, ‘I appreciate, I understand, I approve, etc’ as these are positive points that will demonstrate your acceptance of your boss. Frankly, good points are more likely to sway your boss into accepting your negative riders.

  • Explain the Problem and Why it is a Problem

Your problem may be obvious to you, but it may not be to your boss. When offering negative feedback, make sure you let your boss know why this particular issue is a problem and how it is affecting you, other workers or office productivity. This helps your boss better understand where you are coming from. He will take the negative feedback as a platform from which to create solutions to move up and not as a platform that pulls him down.

  • Offer Solutions

Solutions are necessary when you are presenting negative feedback. You know that this is the problem and why it is a problem and 90% of the time, you already have a solution. Present the solution or present multiple solutions to your boss so that he can adapt the solution to company and personal requirements. When you offer a solution, the boss knows you are keen to resolve the problem and not just whining about it.

  • Recognize the Limits of your Knowledge

Unfortunately, your boss is also subject to management control and sometimes, your negative feedback on a particular issue may turn out to be mandatory company policy. In this case, it is necessary for you to accept your inexperience or ignorance of upper management policies. Express clearly that your point in providing the negative feedback was to improve productivity and streamline the existing work relationship.

Finally, keep the following points in mind. Be prepared for negative feedback / criticism from your boss about you that might be causing the problem. Do not be angry if your feedback is not accepted or implemented. You usually ignore comments that you may not like and this goes for your boss as well. Remain an outstanding employee – people who work well will notice that their feedback is accepted quickly. If you work to the best of your abilities, it demonstrates your skill and expertise and it adds weight to your feedback.

Yes, your boss may not like it, but if you provide the right feedback, even if it is negative in the right way, it will be accepted. Your job will be safe and the work relationship with your boss will definitely improve rather than deteriorate.


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