- Upward Feedback vs 360 Feedback
- Benefits of Upward Feedback
- Tips for Giving Feedback
- Manager Feedback Examples
Employees are used to receiving feedback from managers. From annual reviews to daily notes, feedback is how employees grow in their roles. What's not as common is direct reports giving feedback to their superiors.
But managers aren't immune to mistakes or shortcomings. They're people who are also continuing to grow in their roles - meaning, they can benefit from feedback as well.
Unfortunately, due to the natural power dynamics of employer and employee, many leaders go without any employee feedback whatsoever.
Here, we explore why upward feedback is important, how to formulate constructive feedback, and provide manager feedback examples to help employees with this daunting process.
Upward Feedback versus 360 Feedback
Upward and 360-degree feedback are related concepts, but they serve different purposes and involve different groups of individuals in the feedback process.
Here are the key differences between upward and 360-degree feedback:
- Upward Feedback: This feedback primarily involves employees giving feedback to their managers or supervisors. It's a one-way feedback process where employees assess the performance and behavior of their superiors.
- 360-Degree Feedback: 360-degree feedback, on the other hand, involves multiple sources of feedback, typically including peers, subordinates, self-assessment, and sometimes even external stakeholders. It provides a more comprehensive view of an individual's performance by collecting feedback from a broader range of people.
- Upward Feedback: The primary purpose of upward feedback is to allow employees to provide input on their managers' performance, leadership style, and effectiveness.
- It helps managers and employees get on the same page and understand how their actions and decisions impact their teams and the organization.
- 360-Degree Feedback: 360-degree feedback aims to provide a well-rounded assessment of an individual's strengths and areas for improvement from various perspectives. It is often used for personal and professional development, performance evaluation, and talent management.
- Upward Feedback: The process of employee-to-manager feedback focuses exclusively on the evaluation of managers by their subordinates. It often involves structured surveys or questionnaires tailored to assess leadership qualities and managerial effectiveness.
- 360-Degree Feedback: The process of 360-degree feedback encompasses feedback from multiple sources, which may include peers, subordinates, supervisors, and the individual's self-assessment.
- The feedback process is more comprehensive and can address a broader range of competencies and behaviors.
Upward feedback is a subset of the broader 360-degree feedback process. Upward feedback specifically pertains to employees providing feedback about their managers.
360-degree feedback includes feedback from a variety of sources to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of an individual's performance and development areas.
Both types of feedback can be valuable tools for personal and organizational growth, but they serve distinct purposes and involve different feedback sources.
Benefits of Upward Feedback
The benefits of employee feedback for managers can range from the obvious to the surprising. And when done well, it offers benefits for both individuals and the organization as a whole.
Over time, this type of well-rounded discussion can lead to a feedback culture within the organization where everyone is open to improvement.
These benefits include:
- Enhanced Leadership Development: Upward feedback helps managers gain insights into their leadership strengths and areas for improvement. This constructive feedback can guide their personal and professional development, allowing them to become more effective leaders.
- Improved Communication: Honest feedback fosters better communication between employees and their managers. It can lead to improved relationships and a feedback culture where everyone benefits.
- Increased Employee Engagement: When employees feel their voices are heard and their opinions matter, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and the organization. Upward feedback can contribute to higher levels of employee engagement.
- Conflict Resolution: Upward feedback can help identify and address potential sources of conflict within the organization. By openly discussing issues, managers and employees can work together to find solutions.
- Enhanced Decision-Making: Managers can make more informed decisions when they have a better understanding of how their actions and decisions affect their teams. Upward feedback provides valuable information for decision-making and can improve overall team performance.
- Tailored Training and Development: Feedback can identify specific areas where managers may benefit from additional training or coaching. This targeted development can result in more effective leadership.
- Increased Trust and Morale: When employees see that their feedback leads to positive changes, it can boost their trust in leadership. This can lead to additional benefits, as employees may feel safe to discuss issues with their leader that they may otherwise have kept quiet. For example, only a quarter of employees who feel burned out have told a supervisor about it.
- Innovation and Continuous Improvement: Upward feedback can be a source of innovative ideas and suggestions for process improvements. Managers can harness the creativity and knowledge of their teams to drive positive changes.
- Accountability: Feedback provides a basis for holding managers accountable for their actions and performance. It encourages them to take ownership of their leadership responsibilities.
- Alignment with Organizational Goals: Managers can better align their actions and leadership style with the organization's strategic goals and values, contributing to overall success.
- Retention and Talent Development: When employees see that their input is valued and acted upon, they are more likely to remain with the organization. Additionally, upward feedback can help identify and develop future leaders from within the organization.
In summary, employee feedback is a valuable tool for promoting leadership development, improving communication, and enhancing employee engagement.
It benefits individuals, the entire team, and the organization as a whole by fostering a culture of continuous improvement and open communication.
Tips for Giving Feedback
Providing constructive feedback to a superior can undoubtedly feel uncomfortable for many direct reports.
There may be areas in which you'd like your boss to make improvements, but expressing your concerns might risk straining your working relationship.
One way to mitigate this issue is to invest in a 360 feedback survey tool like Terryberry's employee engagement survey suite. This option can provide anonymity and help build transparency and leadership getting a true pulse on things.
Additionally, we've established a set of guidelines to make giving constructive feedback to your boss as smooth as possible.
Organize your feedback into distinct categories, such as:
- Leadership skills: Assess your boss's ability to communicate expectations, motivate, set an example, and integrate into the team.
- Problem-solving skills: Evaluate how effectively your boss handles conflicts, brainstorms, collaborates, and takes responsibility.
- Employee engagement: Consider your boss's performance in building trust, listening to and supporting employees, accessibility, and their genuine concern for the team as individuals, not just as employees.
Refrain from using absolute terms
Effective communication avoids words like "always" and "never" since they rarely represent the complete truth and fail to address the underlying issues.
For instance, if it seems like your boss never listens to your ideas, the reality may be that they do hear you but lack the active listening skills to demonstrate that.
Instead, frame your feedback more gently. Instead of saying, "You never listen to my ideas," you could express, "Sometimes, it feels like my ideas aren't fully considered.
I'd appreciate understanding why they might not be feasible so I can continue to improve."
Maintain objectivity, empathy, and a solutions-oriented approach
While it may be challenging, objectivity is crucial during evaluations. You can have a positive opinion of your boss, but that doesn't mean there aren't areas for improvement.
Conversely, even if you're tempted to give only negative feedback, they likely have strengths too that you can mention.
Set aside personal feelings and instead concentrate on their actions. Identify what they do effectively for the team and what could be enhanced. When providing your feedback, remember that your boss is still a human being whose feelings can get hurt.
Constructive criticism and helpful feedback, rather than harsh or negative comments, should be your goal for the benefit of both your boss and the team.
Employee to Manager Feedback Examples
Providing feedback to your manager is an important part of fostering open communication and helping them improve their leadership and management skills.
Here are some examples of constructive criticism you might provide to your manager:
Constructive Feedback Examples
Critical feedback or negative feedback can be especially tricky to give. But even though it can be uncomfortable at times, genuine and honest feedback is always the most beneficial.
Giving constructive feedback is an essential part of helping managers grow and improve their leadership skills.
Remember, constructive feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on behavior rather than personal attributes.
Here are some examples of constructive manager feedback:
- "I've noticed that there are times when communication could be more consistent. Clear and timely updates from you would help us stay on track with our projects."
- "While you're effective at conveying expectations, there are instances when providing more context or explanations would be beneficial for the team to fully understand the 'why' behind our tasks."
- "Your communication is generally clear, but there are times when it could be more concise. Providing key information first and then adding details might help us grasp important points more quickly."
- "Consider using simpler language and avoiding jargon to make your messages even clearer for the less experienced members on the team."
- "During team meetings it sometimes seems you are multi-tasking and not actively listening when we speak. It would feel more validating that you value our time, input, and ideas if you were more dedicated to actively listening and engaging us further."
- "It seems that the workload distribution isn't always equitable. Some team members consistently handle more tasks than others, and it might be helpful to review our delegation process."
- "Perhaps we can explore a more structured approach to delegation to ensure that other team members get opportunities to work on different aspects of our projects."
- "While you do delegate tasks well, there are times when the expectations aren't entirely clear, leading to confusion among team members. It would be helpful to provide clear instructions, goals, and timelines upfront so we're all on the same page."
- "Consider setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals when delegating tasks to help everyone understand what success looks like."
- "We should consider creating a feedback loop for delegation. After delegating a task, it would be beneficial to provide both positive and negative feedback and allow team members to share their experiences and learning from the process."
- "There have been a few situations where team conflicts were left unaddressed for a long time. I feel it would be beneficial to handle conflicts more proactively to maintain a positive team dynamic."
- "Encouraging more open and honest discussions when disagreements arise would enhance our team's cohesion and effectiveness."
- "It might help to take a proactive approach with conflict by implementing conflict prevention strategies. We could try team-building activities, clearer communication, or setting shared expectations to minimize future conflicts."
- "When providing feedback during conflict resolution, I think we should focus more on the specific behavior or actions that need improvement rather than making it personal. A more constructive and solution-oriented approach could be more effective."
- "I feel sometimes conflict resolutions don't get to the root of the problem. I think we should try to deliver feedback that really helps individuals understand the impact of their actions and provide suggestions for how it can improve."
- "I've noticed that sometimes deadlines are particularly tight. I think we could manage our time more efficiently. Is there a way we can improve our time management strategies to reduce last-minute rushes?"
- "It might be helpful to explore time-saving tools or techniques to streamline our work processes and meet project deadlines more comfortably."
- "At times, it feels that every project is urgent. I think it could be helpful to help the team if you could prioritize our projects by order of importance so we can best utilize our time."
Recognition and Feedback:
- "It would be great if you could provide feedback and recognition for our accomplishments and overall employee performance. Knowing that our efforts are appreciated would likely motivate the team further."
- "Could we implement a more regular feedback process or an employee recognition program to acknowledge our team's hard work and contributions?"
- "At times, it feels like the more outspoken or extroverted team members get recognized more often, even though others are working just as hard. Placing more emphasis on recognizing the more behind-the-scenes employees could go a long way."
- "I'd love a way to recognize my peers more often. It can be difficult to remember to say thank you for everything they do, so it'd be nice if we had more of a recognition culture to help boost morale."
When delivering constructive feedback to a manager, it's crucial to do so in a professional and respectful manner, focusing on actionable suggestions and potential solutions.
The goal with this type of employee feedback is to foster growth and development while maintaining a positive and collaborative working relationship between manager and direct reports.
Positive Feedback Examples
Positive feedback for a manager can not only boost their morale but it reinforces good practices while motivating them to continue their effective leadership.
Here are some examples of positive feedback for managers:
- "Your communication skills are outstanding. Your ability to convey complex ideas in a clear and concise manner has significantly improved our team's understanding of our goals."
- "Your transparent and timely updates keep us well-informed and motivated. It's truly appreciated."
- "Your communication is consistently clear and transparent. Your updates and messages make it easy for the team to understand our goals and expectations."
- "Your ability to provide straightforward information helps us stay on track and be more productive."
- "Your ability to adapt your communication style based on the audience and context is impressive. It ensures that your messages are well-received and understood."
Leadership and Motivation:
- "Your leadership style is inspiring. Your dedication to our team's success and your ability to lead by example have created a positive and productive work environment."
- "You have a unique talent for motivating the team, even in challenging situations. Your enthusiasm and support make a real difference."
- "Your strategic vision and ability to align our team's efforts with the organization's goals have contributed significantly to our success."
- "Your dedication to our team's mission is evident in our consistent progress toward our targets. It's truly motivating."
Recognition and Feedback:
- "I appreciate your consistent recognition of our efforts and achievements. It's motivating to know that our hard work doesn't go unnoticed."
- "Your constructive feedback has been instrumental in my personal growth. I value your guidance in helping me improve."
- "I appreciate your consistent support and recognition of our efforts. It's motivating to know that our hard work doesn't go unnoticed."
- "Managers feedback and appreciation is what fuels our commitment to achieving great results. It contributes to the overall company culture of respect and appreciation."
- I appreciate that you provide honest feedback in a timely manner. It helps me meet my deadlines without added stress, while helping me to continue to improve in my role.
Problem-Solving and Decision-Making:
- "Your decision-making skills are commendable. Your ability to analyze situations and make informed choices has been invaluable to our projects."
- "Your creative problem-solving approach has allowed us to overcome challenges and find innovative solutions. It's an asset to our team."
- "Your decisions consistently lead us in the right direction, helping us achieve our goals."
- "Your clear vision and ability to align our team's efforts with the organization's goals are a driving force behind our success."
- "Your strategic thinking and well-defined objectives create a strong sense of purpose among the team."
- "Your commitment to our professional development sets an excellent example. Your support in helping team members reach their full potential is highly commendable."
- "I'm grateful for the opportunities you've provided for skill development and growth. Your investment in our individual success is evident."
- "Your leadership empowers team members to take initiative and be accountable for their work. You've created an environment where we feel confident in our abilities."
- "Your trust in our abilities has allowed us to grow both individually and as a team."
Inclusivity and Support:
- "Your commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse work environment is inspiring. It fosters a sense of belonging and unity among our team."
- "Your accessibility and willingness to support your team, both personally and professionally, is remarkable. We feel genuinely cared for."
- "Your focus on empowering underrepresented voices and providing opportunities for growth is making a significant impact on the team's diversity and success."
- "You're helping us unlock the full potential of our team by empowering all voices and perspectives."
When providing positive feedback to a manager, be specific about the behaviors or qualities you appreciate, and tie them to the impact they have on the team and organization.
This not only motivates the manager but also reinforces the desired behaviors and practices within the workplace.
Drive Better Engagement with Terryberry
Terryberry provides solutions to help drive performance, retention, and engagement through effective employee engagement solutions.
These solutions include:
- Employee Survey Software: Be Heard is an employee engagement survey solution that's designed to enhance your employee experience while fueling business performance.
- Service Awards and Performance Awards: Recognize and reward employees based on years of service awards, anniversaries, or performance.
- Social Recognition: Empower your employees and managers to recognize their peers and celebrate successes with an easy-to-use social recognition application.
- Feedback and Communication: Unlock improved feedback and communications with employee and customer feedback solutions.
- Wellness Programs: We make it easy to run wellness programs and activity challenges that increase engagement, expand corporate health, and build team camaraderie.
Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with our team to get a hands-on walkthrough of how Terryberry can transform the culture of your workplace.