Can you criticize my website 1

Feedback: Please criticize me correctly!


Read on one side

Why are bosses never in the office? Do they even work? What are their prejudices? In the third episode of our new series "What bosses really think", the head of a personnel consultancy in a medium-sized company reports on how praise and criticism are received by the other side. So that she can be really honest, she writes - like all bosses in this series - anonymously.

During my apprenticeship as a bank clerk, I had a boss who believed that he was particularly capable of criticism. He constantly asked employees, even on a larger scale, to "calmly give him their opinion". He said he could take it. Only those who are open to objections can learn - and bosses have to learn to a special degree. And only those who surround themselves with strong colleagues are really able to lead confidently.

Since then I have been concerned, but also many of my clients, with the question: Can bosses be criticized? Or, perhaps even more difficultly, can they be praised? And if so, can it be done publicly? Where exactly is the line between praise and ingratiation? Can't criticism also turn into a boomerang? Doesn't public praise or censure put bosses in a delicate situation, and even put yourself into a tricky situation?


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Let's start with a matter of course, often set down in textbooks for managers, in which one of the most important tenets is: Bosses want and need open feedback! Who wanted to contradict that, especially as a boss? My experiences are different. I would say: don't trust a supervisor who tells you that he is happy about your criticism. Small cross-check: Do you enjoy being criticized, maybe even in front of the entire team? Very few people are happy when they are made aware of their mistakes. And the fact that these pointers may even be legitimate makes it worse rather than better. Why should bosses be an exception?

What is the consequence of this: Shut up? Forge alliances and then get out of cover in bulk? That would be a bad alternative for everyone involved. No, if there is reason to criticize your boss, it should by no means be suppressed. If you want to criticize superiors, however, you should follow a few rules:

  • Prepare yourself well in terms of content. Even the smallest factual errors such as wrong numbers or data are criticism killers and often turn your concerns into the opposite.
  • Introduce your criticism with a short, moderating announcement, such as: "In addition to some positive aspects, there is one point that seems to me to be criticism that I hope you will not take personally. "This is a signal that you know that this could be an unpleasant situation for the boss.
  • Never refer to the boss's request that criticism is absolutely welcome. That puts your point of view into perspective even before you have put it forward.
  • Keep it short, concentrate on the most important points, preferably just one. You have an advantage in the case of punctual criticism, especially if you can prove your point well.
  • Never use trifles as a basis for a fundamental contradiction. Because this puts every boss on the defensive so that you can hardly expect that your criticism will still be heard. In general, bosses usually have a better overview and more information that you cannot check in the heat of the moment.

Otherwise, the rules of good conflict communication also apply here. State the specific situation to prevent it from being a misunderstanding. Describe the consequences of this situation for you or your department. And finally say specifically what you would like differently. It could sound like this:

"I noticed that you often don't answer my quarterly emails until weeks later. This means that I often have to put off our sales representatives for weeks, which frustrates them and leads to delays. I know that you have a lot to do but it would be incredibly helpful for me and the staff if we could get an answer within a week or so. "