Honest Feedback About My Manager

“Come, Give Me Your Feedback”

You have a pretty solid relationship with your boss. Even so, why does it feel like an invitation to jump aboard the Terror Train when he asks, “So, how am I doing?” You hope the invitation is offered with his genuine openness to feedback, but do you really know what lies beyond his call?

Many companies support 360 degree reviews for managers, with an intent to draw out honest feedback from a broad perspective, including direct reports who are inherently reluctant to participate in the process because:

  • They’re cynical about whether feedback is truly kept confidential
  • They fear their comments will come back to haunt them during their own reviews
  • They wonder if the manager will be held accountable for follow-up and long-term improvement

Feedback from direct reports can provide managers with invaluable insight and provide specific and concrete examples of performance upon which to focus development. If your organization uses 360 degree reviews, help employees prepare for their role in the process:

  • Communicate — Create awareness for the overall performance management program with a steady drumbeat of employee communications. Start from the top of the organization and send clear messages regarding participation, process and timing.
  • Cascade — Model support of the performance management process and activities from the top down. When managers themselves first experience the process of providing upward feedback, they’ll be more effective in cascading the process down the organization.
  • Clarify — Clearly explain the process of handling feedback. Is the feedback kept confidential and anonymous? Is the process open and transparent, involving a face-to-face meeting with the manager? Address these questions early on and you’ll alleviate employee concerns.
  • Commit — Managers should create specific action plans to address performance gaps identified in feedback. Action plans should be shared with direct reports, with progress discussed at regular intervals throughout the following year.
  • Culture — Most important, consider your company’s culture when introducing 360 degree reviews to your organization. Take an approach based on best practices, and tailor your program to meet the unique needs of your people. Anything less may make them Scream