I am glad you decided to find out the answer, which is… It depends! Some bosses are open and welcome constructive feedback, while others are full of ego and don’t encourage an open dialogue. This summer I presented several workshops at the U.S. Chamber Foundation Institute for Organization Management. It was a real privilege speaking with men and women who work in associations and chambers throughout the country.
One of the sessions I conducted was “Managing Upward.” I posed the following question to the students: “What are some of your challenges with your boss or upper management?”
Here are some of their responses:
- The boss not being available
- There is no follow up on issues that require swift action
- Not dealing with conflict and letting things slide
- Meetings which waste the team’s time
- No accountability with the team
- Not setting expectations and no one knows what they need to be doing
- Lack of trust
Ouch! Is that enough? The list was a lot longer, and you will find more scenarios in future posts.
What would you do if your boss gave you negative feedback in front of your team?
- Stay silent?
- Say something that you wished you didn’t say?
- Get the respect that you deserved by being direct with respect?
This is always a tough situation because it depends on so many variables when communicating to upper management. Here is one option that we practiced in the session.
I don’t want to be disrespectful.
I do want to clear the air.
I was caught off guard yesterday when I received negative comments in front of my colleagues because I would have appreciated the important feedback in a one-on-one meeting.
Let’s dissect this formula. “I don’t want…I do want…” will make most communication safe. The group came up with some realistic answers for their own situations using this one strategy. “I am…when…because…” is the power talk formula. This works like a charm. “I was caught off guard…” is a statement that has no judgment. It is how you feel. Try using this and let me know what results you receive.
What will you say to your boss if he or she gives you negative feedback in front of others?
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