Considering that only 34 percent of workers actually want to take on the tough task of being a manager, it’s clear that bosses deserve a little recognition. The concept of Boss’s Day was created in 1958 with the purpose of showing appreciation for bosses as well as improving employee-manager relationships. This Boss’s Day you can do both by taking the time to improve your feedback skills and helping your supervisor or employer do the same.
Feedback-related skills top the list of attributes that people feel successful leaders should possess. When leadership consultant Zenger/Folkman conducted a survey asking participants what skills they felt leaders needed most, the top five answers were roughly the same for all levels of management, and were all connected with how bosses deliver feedback:
- Inspires and motivates others
- Displays high integrity and honesty
- Solves problems and analyzes issues
- Drives for results
- Communicates powerfully and prolifically
Make Feedback Less of a Social Threat
Harvard professors have highlighted that feedback can trigger psychological stressors. Studies have also shown that managers have just as hard a time giving critical feedback as employees do receiving critical feedback. However daunting it may be, giving and receiving feedback is a necessary part of improving performance. As an employee, the best thing you can do is be receptive when feedback is given and provide your boss with constructive feedback of their own when the opportunity arises.
Understand that Feedback is Intended to Help Not Hurt
Even if a supervisor or boss seems to be off base with their feedback, their intention is to help you improve – not to hold you back. It’s easy to go directly into defense mode when threat triggers go off, but that could cause you to miss an important lesson. Carefully consider what your boss has suggested and take time to understand the reason for the issue. This will help you step back from taking it personally and put things in a better perspective.
Get Clarification on General Evaluations and Advice
General feedback can create a negative reaction because it can be read in the wrong way and can be too vague to provide proper guidance. If you receive a general comment about your behavior or performance, ask your boss to clarify their meaning and provide a specific example.
Make Feedback More Frequent
Sporadic feedback is more psychologically off-putting than receiving it on a regular basis. Establish a feedback schedule with your boss where you meet at least once a quarter to discuss current projects, performance and how your goals are progressing.
Ask for Feedback
Getting feedback by request is less likely to trigger feelings of threat and make you more receptive to criticism. So don’t be shy about asking for feedback on something specific when the opportunity presents itself.
Recognize the Common Goal
A boss should encourage sharing, interaction and communication because it improves the productivity of the workplace. A study from Sociometric Solutions showed that when employees interacted and got feedback from “informal experts” (other colleagues) productivity measurements went up for all the people who communicated with them. The communication and impromptu feedback caused the informal expert to be less productive on paper; however, the net gains were undeniable.
If your boss isn’t on board with workplace communication, discuss how changes that encourage colleague interaction can be beneficial for the company as a whole. Suggest that instead of individual performance metrics the supervisor can gauge group efforts and outcomes to measure productivity. It’s also important to make your boss a part of the communication as well so that they gain a better understanding of how interaction can have a positive impact. At the same time your personal relationship with your boss will improve, which makes feedback seem less threatening. That’s a win-win!
Haven’t found the right Boss’s day gift for your supervisor yet? Give your manager or employer the gift of extraordinary focus with a copy of The ONE Thing.