Feedback to Boss

All enterprising and productive teams share a common characteristic that is ‘effective communication’. All kinds of communication in a team are vital, be it suggestions, creative discussions, brainstorming, consent on decisions, dissent and most importantly feedback. The latter is usually fraught with a lot of hesitation as feedback most essentially honest feedback is generally never welcome. The toughest task of all is to provide a feedback to ones boss. There are several organizations today in India that are providing a neutral framework by introducing 360-degree feedback policies. But experts also point out that without the formalization of this framework, things can get a little awkward. After all, it’s not that easy for a subordinate to barge into boss’s cabin and tell him that he / she has an ‘attitude’ problem.

Usually, there are two kinds of bosses, experts say. There are those who seek feedback from their subordinates in a constructive manner and leave no stone unturned to ensure smooth functioning of the team in the future. And then there are those who wouldn’t make the slightest effort to change things. Providing feedback calls for a lot of caution since it is never easy giving ones manager feedback on their performance. If it’s done tactfully, it might be smooth sailing for both the parties involved but if done poorly, not only does it spoil relations with the superior but also lowers employee morale, if the boss takes offence.

Companies today have realized the importance of this method and are finding new ways to get their employees to talk about their seniors. In one organization, the feedback takes place throughout the year and not just during the appraisal period. Some of them take place once in every six months while a few occur on a monthly basis. This trend is here to stay and over a period of time, several conservative organizations too will adopt this practice. Neither is this a cribbing exercise for employees nor is it a backbiting session. Today, it’s one of the most innovative ways of identifying future leaders.

There are several methods used by companies for evaluating a superior. However, the companies are trying to get through this process is candid, unbiased feedback from team members on various attributes of the team leader. Experts feel that this method is quite fair, since every employee should feel free to express the way he / she feels about his / her boss and about the working conditions of his / her team. If employees are not empowered to appraise their superiors, then managers may become insensitive and may disregard individual needs in the team. Every organization needs to figure out how bosses handle their employees. However, it’s imperative that the employee provides feedback without any reluctance or fear. Organizations must make sure that the employee is comfortable talking about his / her boss.

Experts believe that the only way this method could ever be a success is when employees are given the liberty to speak their minds. This feedback will help a manager handling teams to appreciate his /her strengths and work at reinforcing them as well as it will make him / her conscious of his / her weaknesses which would take him work towards rectifying them. The net result will only enhance a person’s managerial abilities, which in turn will only help him / her to move ahead in his / her career. An organization will benefit immensely by creating a pool of effective managers and team members. Through this, the organization is promoting a work culture that is more transparent. This method has helped in providing with a non-biased analysis of individuals’ performance. It has provided with a yardstick to gauge organization’s present and would-be leaders and also has helped in identifying the organizations’ leadership talent.

The biggest advantage that organizations are getting out of the 360-degree feedback process is the sense of empowerment and importance experienced by subordinates in appraising their seniors. So in an era where employee empowerment is the buzzword, 360-degree feedback provides the ideal platform for organizations to truly empower their employees.

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