How and When to Give Feedback to Your Boss

3-5 Minutes to Read

Without feedback, people would walk around their daily lives or at their job, unsure how they are doing. Feedback is needed to inform you of what you are doing well and what can be improved.

Yes, everyone needs feedback, especially in their professional life. Everyone, including your boss!

Giving feedback to your boss might feel like a career-ender. However, as a professional, your boss should be able to receive constructive feedback without feeling insulted. You need to know how and when to give feedback. Never fear; this article will provide dos and don’ts for giving feedback to your boss.

discuss partnership with woman coworker

When Should You Give Feedback to your Boss?

Giving feedback to your boss is considered upward feedback, and it should still follow all the rules of providing good constructive feedback. Before you deliver feedback, you need to know when to give this precious information.


Location and timing are vital in giving constructive feedback to your boss. You do not want to call your boss out in front of other workers. A boss cannot look weak in front of their employees, so they will likely take this personally.


You would also not want to give your feedback right when they get to the office, before lunch, before they leave, or during any other busy time. With feedback so often taken as criticism, it is vital to pick a time when the recipient’s mind is in the right state.

A few places where it is not a good idea to give your feedback are:

  • During a team meeting

    This is not a good place because all your teammates are present. Once again, it would be best if you did not make it look like you are trying to belittle your boss in front of their employees.

  • While discussing new company policies

    This is a similar setting to a team meeting. Chances are that your boss might be trying to get used to the new procedures or might not agree with them either.

  • While they are in a conference with their bosses

    Giving your feedback while they are in the presence of their bosses will not sit well with them because your boss may feel you are making them look incompetent in front of their bosses.

  • While they are in a conference with a client

    The same goes for this scenario. Making them look weak by giving them feedback or questioning them in front of clients is not a good place to share your feedback.

A few places where it is not a good idea to give your feedback are:

  • In a one-on-one setting

    This is the only logical place to give your constructive feedback. This way, you can discuss your concerns in detail, explain your thoughts, and have a conversation about potential solutions.

  • During an annual review

    Annual reviews are held to discuss and give constructive feedback. There will undoubtedly be a point in which your boss asks if you have any questions or comments. This will be your time to provide feedback.

businesswoman discussing papers concerning new business project during meeting

How Should You Give Feedback to your Boss?

Constructive feedback is called criticism when all you do is point out flaws. Good feedback should be accompanied by a discussion that includes strategies for improvement. It might be hard to bring yourself to make suggestions to your boss, but chances are they will be grateful and welcome your ideas.

Another thing to remember is that feedback does not have to be negative. If you give positive feedback to your boss from time to time, they will be less likely to take offense when you give negative feedback.

Tips for Giving Good Feedback to your Boss

Feedback is essential to everyone. If we never received feedback, then flaws and weaknesses in our professional or personal lives would never be revealed or improved. It is of the utmost importance that feedback is given respectfully, so it is not confused with criticism. Remember, just like you cherish input in your life, so does your boss.

  • Talk in person!

    One-to-one discussions will always be better than a phone call or email. It will show that this matter is important enough for you to take time out of your day to meet with them in person.

  • Request a meeting.

    Send an email requesting a meeting with your boss. Give them a heads-up of what you want to discuss. This will help them get mentally prepared for your constructive feedback.

  • Be direct.

    Do not go into your in-person meeting and try to hint about what you are trying to say. This will only confuse and possibly trigger negative feelings. Be direct and honest with your feedback.

  • Give your feedback promptly.

    Do not wait to give your feedback. If an issue arises, it is best to schedule your meeting immediately. Bringing up something that happened a few months ago will likely not sit well with your boss.

  • Watch your tone!

    Your boss will likely reject your feedback if you go into your meeting with a stern, “bossy” tone. Once again, constructive feedback should sound sincere.

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