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How employees can give feedback to their boss

When we think about giving feedback in the workplace, we tend to think about bosses letting their subordinates know how they’re doing, work-wise.

But employees spend just as much time with their bosses, which puts them in a good position to critique their managers’ performances and serve feedback in the other direction. Employees also have the most knowledge about which policies and procedures are or aren’t working. It even has a name: Feedback employees give to their bosses is called upward feedback. Unfortunately, many workers are scared to offer constructive feedback to their superiors because they think that by doing so they’ll fall out of their boss’s good graces.

But when organizational culture encourages employees to give upward feedback, companies benefit in a number of ways:

Despite these benefits, it can still be difficult to get employees to buy in to the idea that they need to tell their bosses what they’re doing wrong. In order to build the best company, organizations need to create cultures that encourage employees to give their bosses feedback—no matter how uncomfortable that might be for feedback-averse managers or more introverted employees. Otherwise, bosses will remain stuck in their less-than-optimal ways and discouraging policies will remain in place, disengaging employees.

But there are several tactics both organizations and employees can employ to increase the chances they unlock the full promise of upward feedback:

The sooner companies understand that feedback can be a two-way street and incorporate upward feedback into their ongoing operations, the better off they’ll be. Engagement will increase for both managers and employees. In turn, workers will be happier—and that happiness will translate into a healthier bottom line.