Constructive Feedback for Managers: 7 Examples

Providing feedback isn’t just about giving your manager information; it’s also about establishing trust and transparency.

June 14, 2022
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Providing honest feedback isn’t just about giving your manager information; it’s also about establishing trust and transparency.

Feedback is a gift. While it's typically not easy to give, everyone needs feedback to grow, employees and superiors alike. People want to hear what they’re doing right, but to get a positive outcome they need to know what they can do better. It will impact personal and team performance long-term.

In fact, Netsuite reports that about 53% of employees want to receive more recognition from their immediate managers.

People often get uncomfortable giving feedback because they can’t find the right words or opportunity. It can also be more challenging when it’s an employee to a manager. However, when you commit to providing regular feedback to your manager, it shows that you're invested in your career development. It helps your manager know they can count on you to be honest with them about manager performance reviews, even if things aren't going well.

1:1 meetings, team development meetings, and feedback meetings are great opportunities for managers to tackle employee review comments, and for employees to deliver negative feedback.

A one-on-one Manager Flow serves as a great template to enable you to give constructive feedback to your manager during 1:1 meetings

Feedback is like fertilizer for plants: It helps them grow stronger and healthier over time. If used correctly, feedback can improve your communication skills and quality of life at work and help you and your manager (s) achieve your full potential.

Interested in learning more about positive and negative feedback to the manager? Book a Demo for free today.

Interested in learning more about giving constructive feedback examples for colleague?  Book a Demo for free today.

Why is it important to give critical feedback to your manager?

Giving feedback to your manager is a great way to ensure that you’re on track in your career and not just floating through the motions. It helps both of you understand what it will take to get where you want to be. Providing feedback for supervisor isn’t just about giving your manager information; it’s also about establishing trust and transparency between the two of you.

That said, It's not always easy to provide feedback. In fact, it can be downright hard.

Here are some tips to help make the process go smoothly:

  1. Don't assume you understand why your manager did what they did.
  2. Be specific about what is wrong or what needs improvement.
  3. Avoid generalizations and vague statements.
  4. Be respectful of your manager’s feelings when giving feedback (don't use offensive language).
  5. Be aware of your feelings during the conversation, so they don't get in the way.

Read: How to Manage Your Manager

How do you write positive feedback to your manager?

When writing positive feedback, you want to be as specific as possible so that there is no room for doubt. 

An easy way to achieve that is using a Manager Feedback Flow. It's easy to write negative or generic feedback. But what about writing positive feedback? How do you make it stand out from the crowd?

An employee feedback sample could be: "I like how you gave me feedback and helped me improve my work." This statement is too vague; it leaves room for other interpretations and can lead to miscommunication.

A more specific statement would be, "I appreciate the time you took during my employee evaluation to give feedback on my presentation and provide suggestions on how I could improve."

Also, when writing upward feedback to your manager, be sure not to sound too formal or too distant, as this can make them feel uncomfortable or put off by what they are reading. You want them to know that it was written with good intentions and not as a formality or part of some kind of reporting system.

How do you write performance feedback for your manager?

Regarding performance feedback, always remember that you and your manager are on the same team. You're both trying to help each other succeed!

So, when writing performance feedback for your manager, don’t be afraid to give them constructive criticism. If they're doing their job well, let them know. If they could improve, let them know.

To help you get started, here are 3 tips on how to write an effective performance review for your manager:

  1. Start with what's working.

Every employee has something unique they bring to the team, and it’s important to let them know even when it's more negative than positive. Letting your manager know what they're doing right can be challenging. But by starting with what's working, you can build trust and show your boss that you're on their side.

  1. Give specific examples of what they're doing well.

Did they help you set up a new system? Did they get a promotion? Did their set goals help the team improve?

You can also use an employee recognition flow to show how valued they are. Be specific about what makes them shine so your boss knows exactly what you mean when you compliment their work.

  1. Be honest but diplomatic.

Even if your boss is a great manager, it's important not to shy away from talking about areas where they could improve or things that didn't go as planned. You can be frank about these things without being too harsh or critical. Just ensure it comes across as constructive criticism rather than a personal attack.

Let's look at 360 feedback. This is when a manager receives feedback from both direct reports and other team members, as well as anonymous feedback from peers. This type of feedback can be incredibly valuable in helping managers identify areas where their employees need improvement, such as interpersonal skills, leadership skills, and more.

Here are some examples of negative 360 feedback that could be useful for managers:

- Employees feel their managers don't listen to their concerns.

- Employees feel their managers do not provide enough direction or guidance.

- Employees feel their performance is not adequately recognized or rewarded.

Let's look at appraisal feedback to managers. This is when direct reports provide feedback on their manager's performance. This can be a great way for managers to get an honest assessment of how their team perceives them.

Here are some examples of appraisal feedback to managers that could be useful:

- Employees feel their manager is not open to new ideas.

- Employees don't feel their manager provides adequate feedback and coaching.

- Employees feel their manager is too quick to make decisions without considering their input.

Furthermore, there are also other types of feedback such as peer feedback examples, upwards feedback examples, and anonymous feedback that can be used to provide additional insights. Peer feedback examples can help managers understand how well they interact with their team and how they handle conflicts. Upwards feedback examples can give managers an understanding of how their employees perceive them, and anonymous feedback can allow for more honest and open feedback.

Here are some examples of these types of feedback that could be useful for managers:

- Employees feel their manager is too quick to criticize and not quick enough to praise.

- Employees feel their manager is not open to other team members' opinions.

- Employees feel their manager does not recognize the value of their contributions.

What are some constructive feedback examples for colleagues and managers?

Whether you are giving your manager positive feedback or a negative one, utilize the examples below for direction and ideas on how to make sure the other party hears what you have to say. Receiving feedback (especially negative) is often not easy so having a toolbox of best constructive feedback examples can help.

7 constructive feedback examples of feedback for managers

  1. If you've been working on a project together and want to let them know how it went

"I want to let you know that I really enjoyed working on this project with you. It was really interesting and challenging."

  1. If your manager is making an unfair decision

“I think it would be helpful to have a conversation about the decision you made. I understand that you may not be able to change things, but I think it would be useful to talk about it.”

  1. If your manager has become overbearing and micromanaging

“I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I want to make sure we're on the same page because I know you have high expectations for me, and that's great! But I've noticed that there are times when you micromanage me, and it's making it hard for me to do my job.

I want to be able to rely on your guidance, but sometimes it feels like you're checking up on me too often or getting involved in details that don't matter as much as they used to.

I'm happy to talk more about this if you'd like some more specifics. But either way, I really value our relationship and would appreciate having a chance to discuss this issue with you.”

  1. If your manager is not giving you enough feedback on how you're doing (developmental feedback example)

“I really appreciate what you've told me so far, but I'd love to know more about what you like about my work and what I can do to improve. If there are things that I'm doing that aren't working out very well, things that may be slowing down the team or causing frustration for others, I would really appreciate a heads-up so that I can improve and do better.”

  1. If you disagree with your manager

“I see something different in this situation than you do, and I want to share my thoughts with you before we make a decision on how to move forward with this project or client relationship.”

  1. If your manager's communication style is ineffective

“I wanted to talk about what's going on with our team lately. There seem to be some communication issues between us, and it feels like we're not working together as well as we used to."

  1. If your manager helped you with something at work

“I really appreciate how you handled this situation. It was very helpful because it allowed me to learn something new about the way things work around here that I hadn’t been aware of before.”

Read: How to Give and Take Constructive Criticism

Examples of constructive feedback
Giving Feedback is not an interrogation. It's a conversation.

Providing feedback to your manager is a tricky business. You have to balance honesty with tact, and criticism with a compliment, while also trying not to come across as overly critical or negative. Nobody likes being told they’re doing something wrong, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience if it's done constructively. Or use a feedback model for more examples of feedback for coworkers that is concise and specific.

Assembly has made it incredibly easy to give your manager structured feedback. Here's our Manager Feedback template:

Assembly is empowering employees everywhere to have better conversations, transparent management, and recognition. Schedule time to learn more about feedback examples for peers and managers alike.

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