Managers do not receive much feedback. Most of the feedback they do receive is from their own manager, in regards to their upwards communication or their progress against their team's goals.

A manager rarely gets feedback from their team members. It requires a trusting relationship for an employee to directly criticize a person who can heavily impact their career. This is one good reason to find a manager you trust and can work well with.

As feedback is uncommon, it can feel particularly jarring to have it come from a direct report. Managers often confuse being the boss with being a better employee. If you believe that you're supposed to have more experience and skills than the other people on your team, it can feel threatening for those people to suggest that they've observed you making a mistake.

This is not just true of managers. Plenty of employees begin their careers open minded, but as they enter leadership positions they begin to think themselves as above feedback from less experienced co-workers. Being humble and open to feedback is a critical skill.

A manager working for me asks for a one-on-one meeting.
Manager Erin - "I'm going to use feeling words ok? It's hard for me to bring up emotions at work, so I want you to understand that bringing this up is important for me."
Me - "Absolutely, I understand."
Manager Erin - "I felt hurt when you asked my team to work on that project earlier today when I was in the room. It made me feel reluctant to direct my team's activities when you're around."
Me - "I greatly appreciate your feedback! It's so hard to get feedback from anyone, and it's great you felt you trusted me enough to say these things. By asking your team to work on that ticket, I stepped around you and your position. I can see how you'd feel that way. I'll be very careful going forward to work through you when assigning tasks to your team, and please let me know as soon as you notice me doing that type of thing again."

A Discussion With Your Manager

When you give feedback to your manager, you want to establish a trusting dialog. Particularly if you don't give feedback often, you may wish to give an introduction which helps open the doors to a safe discussion.

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