When The Boss Is Wrong

Offer constructive criticism and still keep your job

“So how am I doing?” It’s a great question from any manager, but it can put you on the spot if you’re afraid that a truthful answer could jeopardize your job. However, this may be the perfect opportunity to express some real concerns. So what should you do? Follow your instincts and say everything is great?

“If you’re not providing your boss with honest feedback, you’re really not acting like a professional,” says Priscilla H. Claman, president of Career Strategies Inc. in Boston. She believes offering constructive criticism is an integral part of any job, even if your problems are related to your boss. According to Claman, “Your comments can spark improvement and keep your boss out of serious trouble.”

Are you ready to deliver the bad news? Then make sure that it’s not during the weekly staff meeting, but, instead, in a tactful tete-a-tete. Claman offers five strategies to help you keep your job while voicing your concerns:

Ask questions.
Your boss’ answers can help you understand his or her position before you offer suggestions.

Discuss the consequences.
How do your boss’ actions impact the staff or company produce? Your comprehensive assessment could he viewed as impressive and enlightening.

Offer solutions.
When you provide constructive criticism, make recommendations for improvements. Your boss will appreciate your proactive approach, and your efforts may increase your value to the company.

Send a messenger.
If you aren’t comfortable offering constructive criticism, ask someone else to get involved. Your boss may be more receptive to an expert or “trusted” peer.

Be realistic.
No matter how accurate your criticisms are, you could be overruled. Don’t get discouraged; view the event as a learning experience.

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