Giving feedback to your manager can be difficult, but you must do it as often as possible. Many people do not criticize or correct their managers because they fear retribution, which leaves the door open for problems to continue and can poison the work environment. Giving and receiving feedback can be difficult, but it is necessary for a healthy workplace.
Why is Feedback Important for a Manager?
Your manager can only correct a problem if they know about it. Employees often have valuable insights into what works and does not in a company – and this sets examples of what to tell your manager to improve on.
Feedback to managers helps them identify problems or areas where employees are unhappy or unsatisfied. For example, if employees report that they need more time for breaks, the company may need to adjust its policies so that employees have more time for rest.
Employee feedback is also beneficial for managers because it allows them to identify areas in which they need improvement and provides them with specific suggestions for becoming more effective leaders.
It can be challenging to give feedback to your manager, especially if it is critical. You may be concerned about retribution, or your manager will not take the criticism well. However, it is essential to remember that constructive criticism can help improve the workplace.
While it may be true that your manager will react negatively, for the most part, to constructive feedback, you should still offer it. Your manager will likely appreciate any insight you can give them into their performance — especially if you frame it in a helpful way.
So, always frame your feedback around what your manager can do to make you a better employee or improve the work. Good examples of feedback to managers include saying, “I would appreciate it if you could give me more direction in the future.”
Avoid using absolute words like “never” or “always.” For instance, saying, “I never get any feedback,” is not very effective because it is not valid.
A better way to phrase this might be, “I have not received any feedback recently.” This way, you focus on the things your manager can control and change in your favor.
When done correctly, giving your manager constructive feedback can improve the working relationship and help your manager grow. So, here are 12 examples of feedback for managers:
1. Acknowledging Constructive Feedback to Improve Professionalism
Your observations about my interactions with others were spot-on, and I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help me improve in this area.
I can certainly understand why you expressed your concerns — it is essential to remain aware of my tone when communicating with others.
I have learned that failing to do so can have negative implications. From now on, I will work on being more mindful of the words and tone I use in conversations and strive to maintain a professional demeanor at all times.
And I will take extra care to ensure that any feedback or input I provide is constructive so as not to come across as overly critical or aggressive.
Reason for Feedback to your Manager: The purpose is to demonstrate that I have taken their observations seriously and am actively working to improve in areas where I am lacking.
Specifically, I want to show that I understand the importance of maintaining a professional and respectful tone when interacting with others. This is especially important for me, as my role in the organization frequently requires me to interact with internal and external stakeholders.
2. Seeking Balance between Aggressive Goals and Relationship-Building
I understand you are asking us to be highly aggressive with our sales goals, and I appreciate your commitment to achieving those objectives. Despite your enthusiasm, however, I’m finding that my natural personality does not necessarily align with this approach.
My strongest skills lie in relationship building and understanding the needs of my clients, which requires a more subtle approach than an aggressive sales push.
I need to ensure I’m meeting your expectations while remaining true to myself and my strengths — can we find a way to strike a balance between these two approaches?
Read also: 16 Key Areas of Improvement for Managers
Reason for Manager Feedback: Explaining the difference between aggressive sales goals and my natural, more relaxed personality.
I want to ensure that my manager understands that while I may not be as assertive or persistent in pursuing those aggressive sales goals, I am still committed to achieving them.
My intent is also to be transparent with my manager about my working style so that they can create an environment where I can succeed with those aggressive sales goals without completely changing who I am.
3. Requesting a More Understanding Approach to Motivate the Team
I understand that you are dealing with a lot of pressure from above, and I appreciate that you have handled it in the best way possible. However, sometimes this pressure can trickle down to us, your team.
We understand that you need to be firm and ensure that the job is done on time, but often it feels like we are being targeted unfairly. We would appreciate it if you took a more understanding approach when addressing issues with us.
We know that times are tough and we have to meet deadlines, but a positive work environment motivates us to tackle those deadlines successfully.
Reason for Feedback: We need to look for ways to have a good working relationship. While I understand that upper management puts a lot of pressure on my manager and recognizes the difficult position, we must maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Taking out the frustration on us creates an environment of fear and mistrust, negatively impacting morale and productivity.
4. Expressing Discouragement at Lack of Opportunity to take initiatives
I appreciate the trust and support you have given me since I joined the team. However, I have noticed that whenever I try to take the initiative and do something outside the regular scope of my job duties, it seems as if you shoot it down — maybe you let me know why.
However, it is still a painful experience for me. It has happened multiple times, and I feel like I cannot contribute meaningful ideas or suggestions to help our team progress.
Even when I bring up something that could benefit the company, the response is usually a quick “No” without much explanation. I’m curious why you do this instead of allowing me to explore new ideas and possibilities.
Perhaps you could explain why this is the case so I can better understand. It would be helpful if you could provide details on what kind of tasks or initiatives are within my scope and any ideas or strategies that are out of it.
Reason for Feedback: It is essential to stay within the scope of my job and follow instructions. But I have noticed that whenever I take the initiative and come up with creative solutions or strategies, my manager seems to shoot them down — which is discouraging for me.
It is not that I do not respect his decisions, but I’m curious as to why he does this instead of allowing me to explore new ideas and possibilities.
5. Considering a Holistic Approach to Cost Reduction Measures
I understand why our team is implementing cost-saving measures. However, I’m a bit skeptical about the way they are being carried out. In my opinion, we should approach these measures holistically, considering potential long-term impacts and outcomes.
For instance, while implementing strategies to reduce expenses in the short run, we should also consider how they affect our ability to generate income in the future.
And cutting costs this way will harm our staff’s morale and productivity, leading to decreased efficiency and customer dissatisfaction.
So, I suggest we consider other factors, such as our brand reputation and overall competitive advantage. Ultimately, cost-saving efforts need to show a balance between current expenditures and potential opportunities for future growth.
We need to think strategically about how we approach cost-cutting so that it does not come at the expense of long-term success.
Reason for feedback to your manager: I respectfully disagree with how our team has implemented cost-saving measures. I understand that there is a need for such measures to remain competitive, but there are better ways to accomplish that.
For example, we should focus on streamlining processes to increase efficiency rather than cutting back on resources and labor costs.
6. Expressing Disappointment with the Lack of Development Opportunities
When I first joined this company, I was excited about the possibility of growing and developing my skills. But over time, I have noticed less opportunity for growth or advancement than I had initially expected.
The work is exciting and challenging, but there are limited opportunities for upward mobility. And employee training and development investments are minimal.
I see that most focus is on short-term success rather than building a solid team with professional growth potential. This has not been very reassuring since it does not seem like there are many ways to build up my knowledge and advance professionally within the company.
Reason for Manager Feedback: To express my disappointment in the lack of opportunities for growth that I have encountered during my time in this company.
When I first joined, I was hopeful that there would be more chances for me to develop my skills and take on more responsibilities — but unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case any longer. However, it appears that those opportunities are few and far between.
Read also: 22 Examples of What to Ask a Manager
7. Seeking Guidance and Support to Rekindle Motivation
In light of recent events, I have been feeling unmotivated at work, and it is essential to figure out what is causing that. To start with, I’m not sure if it is something related to the job itself or something more personal.
From my perspective, I feel like there is a lack of support from my manager in providing clear direction on tasks and goals. This lack of guidance makes me feel like there is no point in putting effort into things since nothing will ever be good enough.
Reason for Feedback: To help me understand why I feel unmotivated at work. We may identify the root causes of my lack of motivation and develop a plan to improve my productivity and engagement with my work.
8. Focusing on Solutions Rather Than Punishment
Every time someone makes a mistake, it seems they get yelled at — this dynamic is not conducive to a healthy work environment and leads to resentment or stops people from taking the initiative.
Instead, it will be much more beneficial if we focus on finding solutions rather than punishments. This way, people will feel confident to try and do their best rather than constantly feeling under fire.
Punishment may temporarily stop a problem from occurring, but it does not help in the long run.
Reason for Manager Feedback: To create a more productive, positive, and thriving workplace by encouraging solutions-oriented rather than punishment-oriented thinking.
When focusing on solutions instead of punishments, we can foster an environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning and growth. I this will encourage us to become more creative and innovative, leading to better results.
9. Seeking A More Effective Way to Communicate Expectations
Rather than sending out emails and messages, I think it will be beneficial to have small team meetings to communicate expectations better and allow us to ask questions in person. This will be an effective way for us to ensure that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.
Smaller team meetings will provide a space for you (the manager) to articulate expectations clearly within a more intimate setting conducive to open communication. It will also allow us (employees) to ask follow-up questions to understand our work better.
Reason for Feedback: To ensure that everyone’s expectations are clear throughout the team. In these meetings, a manager can set out their expectations, answer questions, and allow team members to give feedback in a more interactive setting.
I believe this will help build clearer communication between a manager and employees, reducing misunderstandings and miscommunication.
10. Highlighting a Lack of an Open-Door Policy
It would be helpful to have direct access to you (my manager) all the time. Having an open-door policy is a great way to ensure that I can talk to my manager anytime I need to discuss any concerns or problems.
That will create an environment of trust and respect, allowing for more open communication and collaboration. In addition, the open-door policy will enable us to better address issues promptly and help us develop our professional relationships.
Such accessibility will also give me a sense of security, knowing I can confidently approach my manager on essential matters without hesitation.
Reason for Feedback to Your Manager: To have an open-door policy that allows employees to have direct access to their managers when they need help or advice. This creates an environment where you feel comfortable approaching your managers and discussing any issues about your work.
Also, having an open-door policy allows managers to know any underlying issues among employees before they become large-scale problems.
11. Expresses Frustration at the Dismissal of Innovative Ideas
It seems like every time I put forward a new idea, — you shoot it down without giving it serious consideration.
It is disheartening to come up with an innovative solution to a problem only to have it ignored without any meaningful discussion of its merits or whether there could be ways to improve or modify it.
I understand that your role is to ensure the best outcome for the company, and that means making sure plans are feasible and cost-effective, but I’m confident the ideas I have proposed all meet those criteria.
It feels like I waste my efforts when you dismiss my thoughts without giving me a chance. If we talk through them more thoroughly, my suggestions can add real value to our team and benefit our operations in the long run.
Reason for Feedback to a Manager: I am frustrated that my manager needs to take my ideas seriously. Whenever I propose an innovative idea, my manager dismisses it without considering its potential implications.
That makes me feel undervalued and unappreciated as an employee and can be disheartening when I am trying to come up with creative solutions. It also stifles my productivity since there is no incentive to propose new ideas.
Read more: 24 Examples of a Good Manager
12. Requesting Regular Feedback to Enhance Relationships
I know you are very busy, and I do not want to be a burden, but I wanted to see if we could schedule some time to discuss my progress.
I need regular feedback so I can continue to improve in my role and ensure I’m on the right track.
With that in mind, I thought it would be beneficial for us to catch up every few weeks to discuss my achievements, challenges, and areas of improvement.
This conversation will help create a better understanding between us and foster an environment of open communication which is critical for team success.
Reason for Feedback: To express an interest in conversing with your manager about the progress you have made or are continuing to make.
By expressing this interest politely, you acknowledge that your manager has other more pressing matters to deal with and do not want to appear intrusive with your request.
Asking for a specific time to talk shows that you respect their schedule and would like your manager to prioritize this conversation with you.
While providing feedback is beneficial for both managers and employees alike, it is equally essential for managers to encourage employees to offer feedback in return — has a myriad of benefits for managers.
It gives the manager an insight into how their teams feel and provides opportunities for solving problems or addressing issues in the workplace.
Effective management means more than just telling people what to do. It requires engagement, connection, understanding between managers and employees, and listening to all feedback.