Giving a Supervisor Feedback

Although my kids are done with High School I am still involved with a team on campus. Recently the team leadership wanted to give feedback back to the adults that work with them. This works with high schoolers but also at work. These steps worked for me and they will work for you. Here is what I told them.

1.) You must decide what your message points are. No one can process more than a few at a time so limit your feedback to 3 message points. They should be broad in nature.

2.) Each message point should be directed at roles, processes, and team behaviors never at individuals. If you want someone to listen to the feedback do not single anyone out. If there is someone driving the feedback, the recipient will know who you are talking about.

3.) Each message point should be supported by observable actions or behaviors (describe specific events that led you to your conclusions). If it is an opinion without proof, it is simply an opinion and will carry no weight. Make sure you have examples of the behaviors.

4.) Do not expect action on something that your supervisor is simply not going to do. If you want results you must ask for things that are in their control that they are willing to do. If your feedback is that you need a new building and it is not in your supervisors’ control, you will not get a new building. If it is something that you know they will not do why waste your energy. They are people too and have strengths and weaknesses. (Generally, I do not write a lot so asking me to put everything in writing is probably something I will not do.) Think carefully about what you want the receiver to know, it is in their control or that they can or will do it.

5.) No Emotion allowed!! This is not personal; this is about providing feedback on 3 things that will make the team a better place. Keep your emotions out of the discussion. You will be more likely to make an impact.

6.) Once there is agreement on what needs to get done, get a commitment on how everyone will monitor it. There is no sense giving feedback that everyone agrees with and then nothing comes of it.

A.) No one likes to be surprised by feedback, so do not surprise them. If possible, tell them in a more casual way before the session so they are not surprised. I know different generations communicate differently (texts, E Mails, etc.) but this is better handled in person or by phone. You will find this one step will make your feedback much more effective and you will have a more receptive audience. This way they can come prepared and discuss how to get to solutions.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it worked for me and the people I recommended it to. I thought I would share it.

Lindsey Levine was in the corporate world for 30 years in a Sales Management Position where one of his key responsibilities was hiring. He transitioned to his new career and is the principal of Lindsey Levine Resume and Interviewing Preparation.

Giving a Supervisor Feedback

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