We’ve all had situations where we’ve been frustrated with our boss, and sometimes you just want to vent. Maybe you didn’t like the decision your boss made, or you feel hurt because you didn’t get the promotion or raise you thought you deserved. Maybe you are struggling with a co-worker relationship, and it’s disrupting your productivity. Should you talk to your boss about how you feel about your work or their management? What should you just keep to yourself?
Let’s face it, it could be pretty risky to put yourself out there and “complain” to your boss, especially in certain corporate cultures. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach here, and I think we could all argue that our own specific circumstance is unique. Therefore, the answer to whether or not you should give your boss critical feedback depends entirely on YOU and your personal journey. I love the way Andy Stanley talks about how to be drama free through wise decisions, and I think this method applies to any pivotal situation. Stanley suggests we look at the decision through the three lenses of past, present, and future in order to make the wise move. Consider asking yourself the following three questions:
1. In light of my past experiences, would sharing this feedback be good for me?
2. Given my current situation or circumstances, would sharing this feedback be the right thing to do right now?
3. How could sharing this feedback affect my future goals?
Notice how this line of self-questioning causes us to put our frustration about our boss’ behavior to the side, and focus on what’s wise for us personally…..after all, you are the only one you can ultimately control. Now let’s say you’ve contemplated and answered these questions, and you decide the right thing for you to do is talk with your boss. Before you charge into that meeting, let’s touch on a few “Don’ts” when sharing critical feedback.
1. Don’t bring a complaint forward without also bringing a few ideas around how to solve the problem/make the relationship better.
2. Don’t forget that your boss is human too, and it may help to try to put yourself in their shoes for a fresh perspective of the situation.
3. Don’t stray from sharing only the facts and specific examples.
It’s hard work navigating all the relationships in our lives, and the one between you and your boss is critical…..we spend more time at work than we do anywhere else! Similar to unspoken cultural norms, there seems to be this invisible line that we know can be dangerous to cross when it comes to relating to our leadership. It can be hard to open those lines of communication and trust. Maybe this framework can help us all move in the right direction for success.
What kind of boss do you have? Check out this AgCareers.com newsletter article.