IN YESTERDAY’S article, I said one of the best ways to deal with a difficult boss is to give him feedback about his behaviour in job-related situations.

While I understand it requires some courage, things you are unhappy about are unlikely to change unless you do something about them.

In Part 1, I listed Rules 1 to 5 on giving your boss feedback. In Part 2 today, we continue with Rules 6 to 10:

6. Focus on one thing at a time

Don’t confuse your boss with a whole list of behaviours. If there are things you do like, you are in danger of coming across as patronising. If there are many things you don’t like, it may come across as a whinge.

7. Be specific

When you are giving your boss feedback, it’s important to focus on job-related behaviour and not on the personality of the individual.

If you feel a bit uncomfortable, try to focus on the boss’s behaviour in terms of how she said or did something. That is what you are giving feedback on, not her as a person.

It becomes easier if you are using “I” messages and being very descriptive about what you have seen or heard.

You could say something like: “I liked the way you showed me how to lay out that report; thank you, Karen.” Or, “Karen, I’m concerned by the way you told me how to do that report. It’s important for me to get it right, would you be prepared to spend a bit more time explaining what you require?”

8. Include the customer and the organisation

Whenever appropriate, relate what your feedback is about to how the customer or the business could be affected. This, of course, could be an internal or an external customer.

9. Get input

When giving constructive feedback, it is important to get the boss’s input. You might say: “I’m unhappy with the number of tasks you’ve asked me to do this week and I’m concerned that I may not be able to do them in the best interests of the business. However, I’m willing to listen to what you have to say and discuss how we can make efficient use of my time.”

10. Don’t leave them low

This is particularly important after giving feedback on something you are not happy about. This is not an attack on the boss; it is about job-related behaviour.

Think about how you feel when someone speaks to you about something they are unhappy about. It can leave you low and possibly stressed.

Be brave

There is still a culture in some organisations that doesn’t allow the boss to be challenged. It’s a case of: “The boss tells me what to do and it’s my job to do as I’m told.”

It is also the case that some people don’t want to say anything to their boss for fear of being perceived as negative or a complainer.

Be brave and give your boss some positive feedback. The occasional compliment or descriptive “thank you” will work wonders for your relationship.

And if the boss is doing or saying something you don’t like, give him some constructive feedback using the rules above.

If you follow these rules, you are much more likely to motivate your boss, manage any difficult situations, and achieve more positive results.