Workplace is going away. Move to Workmates
now to get the first 90 days free.

Employee Feedback To Manager: An Effective Guide On Taking Honest Feedback From Your Teammate

Employee Feedback To Manager: An Effective Guide On Taking Honest Feedback From Your Teammate
15-day free trial workmates logo Try Out Our
Employee Engagement Software For Free
checkmark No credit card needed checkmark Less then 5 min to set up

In any workplace, feedback is critical. Although we typically think of managers providing feedback to their team members, team member feedback to managers is just as valuable. Employee feedback—both from senior and rank-and-file employees—helps identify areas for improvement. It helps everyone achieve their best possible performance. 

In this article, we’ll focus on the importance of getting rank-and-file employees’ feedback for managers in the workplace.


Importance of Employee Feedback 

In general, all employees want companies to listen to their concerns. When employees feel that the business is listening to them, their level of engagement increases. High levels of employee engagement offer all sorts of benefits to the company. Here are some obvious benefits:

  • Higher employee satisfaction: When employees are highly engaged in the workplace, they know their opinions are valued and satisfied. Job satisfaction leads to greater productivity. 

  • Higher retention and lower turnover: Employees who feel appreciated are less likely to leave a company.

  • Lower rates of employee absenteeism: A Gallup poll found that highly engaged workplaces experienced a 41% reduction in absenteeism.

  • Increased profits: Companies with a highly-engaged workforce are 21% more profitable on average. 

Employee feedback can also improve other elements of a business. For example, employee feedback can improve business processes, reduce costs, improve productivity, and more. 

Just like everyone else, managers make mistakes. Rank-and-file employees should be able to  assess their leaders’ performance objectively so these senior employees can make adjustments. 

What Is the Role of a Manager in the Feedback Process?

The role of a manager in a feedback cycle is typically that of a mediator or go-between. They mediate between company leaders and rank-and-file employees. Sometimes, they provide the feedback to rank-and-file employees themselves. As a result, managers typically have to deal with all types of feedback, from personal issues between staff, requests for time off, and more. These issues are managed in a continuous feedback loop. 

Employee Feedback To Manager: An Effective Guide On Taking Honest Feedback From Your Teammate


A major part of the manager’s traditional role then is to give feedback to team members informally or as part of formal performance evaluations. Either way, managers should always be encouraging and supportive. They should set apart some time to talk to their team. This can be done during monthly, quarterly, or even weekly meetings. Or they can send regular emails with the feedback about a specific team member’s performance. Email verification here, however, is key.

But, on occasion, a team member might need to give feedback that directly relates to their manager’s performance. That feedback might be provided through another channel, for example, the Human Resource Department, or directly. In these instances, that manager in question is no longer a mediator or the one who directly gives feedback. They are now the recipients of this feedback. 

That said, team members expect their managers to act the same way when receiving constructive criticism. Managers should, just like their team members, be receptive and welcome the opportunity to improve. They should resist the temptation to “pull rank” or become defensive. 

Ultimately, managers should not hold it against their team members when they speak up about a problem. After all, if team members feel comfortable enough to raise an issue, it’s a sign of a positive team culture.

What Is the Role of a Team Member in the Feedback Process? 

Team members typically receive constructive criticism from their manager. Of course, they should be receptive when receiving feedback. It can be tempting to come up with excuses whenever a manager points out an area for improvement. But owning up to mistakes and taking steps to improve will reflect well on team members. Performance evaluation provides all employees with an opportunity to do better.

In cases where it’s the team members who provide the feedback to or about their manager, however, the typical roles in the workplace are reversed. The team members assess their manager’s performance, and the manager listens and implements this feedback (or should do so, at least). 

Though it can be challenging, team members should strive to be direct when providing feedback to their manager. However, they must remember to be constructive. The idea is not to complain, let off steam, or pick a fight. The point is to provide constructive feedback.

These employees giving feedback must do so as respectfully as possible and at the right time. For example, they probably shouldn’t start giving feedback when their manager is engrossed in a task or on a deadline. 

Here’s a tip I often use: if team members want to give feedback, but it’s not quite the right time, they should write everything down. I usually make some notes, organize my thoughts, and then arrange a meeting. 

In general, people should give feedback in private. This means either a personal email, phone call, or one-to-one meeting. They should also choose their words carefully and be solution-oriented. In other words, they shouldn’t just talk about what’s wrong but offer solutions.

HRC logo

A New Way to Manage
Frontline Workers and Remote Teams

Learn More about HR Cloud®
desktop app

Why Team Members Avoid Giving Honest Feedback to Managers 

Providing critical feedback to a manager can be difficult. As most people will say, the problem is, it’s difficult to give honest feedback to your boss. There is a simple reason for this: they fear reprisal.

It’s natural to fear a superior will retaliate if given critical feedback. That’s the case in any situation; it’s made worse at work because of the power dynamics. Plus, unfortunately, some managers do respond negatively to any critical feedback. 

Rank-and-file employees also feel that any feedback they give will be ignored. After all, if a manager gives negative feedback to them, they must act on it or face disciplinary action. The reverse is typically not true.

What Can Managers Do to Get Feedback From Team Members?

For an effective feedback management cycle for managers to work, managers–whether this be the HR department or the team manager themselves—must help rank-and-file employees overcome their fear to provide honest feedback. Of course, this cannot be achieved in one day.

Managers must work continually to build a culture of giving and receiving feedback. That means they should encourage input from the rank-and-file from their first day of work in the office. Managers can also implement programs to demonstrate that everyone’s opinions matter in the workplace.

For instance, managers can create online communities that encourage feedback from the get-go. There are platforms like Mighty Networks that have messaging features everyone in the team can use. Managers can create a chat section for conversations and even a feed for group discussions.

Managers can also schedule regular one-to-one feedback sessions where team members are encouraged to share any issues. Managers should then use the feedback to make positive changes in the workplace. Once managers start to do this, team members will see that it is safe, and even encouraged, to give candid feedback. 

Managers shouldn’t be surprised if this takes time. If a company doesn’t already have a strong feedback culture, it needs one or two brave team members to speak up first. Once they do so and receive a positive reaction, others will feel empowered to do the same. Managers should try to establish this culture from the very start by encouraging team members to be open and transparent.

WM logo

Social Intranet Software that Encourages Employee Communication

Finally, a Better Intranet Experience Your Employees Will Love.
Learn More
Workmates Tour

Ask the Right Questions

Even if a manager has created a positive feedback culture, some team members might still have difficulty sharing their opinions. When this occurs, managers can gently guide the employee towards opening up. They can do this by providing answers to common questions or rephrasing issues through role-playing. 

Here are some questions they might wish to ask:

  • How could I be providing you with more opportunities to develop your professional skills?

  • If you were a manager, how might you ensure the professional development of your team members?

  • Is there anything in our current workflow or processes that could be improved?

  • How is your relationship with your co-workers?

  • Are you generally satisfied with your work here? 

  • How do you see yourself in your professional life in five years? 

  • What company policies do you think could be improved? 

When asking for feedback, managers should avoid questions that solicit a “yes/no” answer wherever possible. 

Managers should also take into account how team members employees prefer to communicate. Some people are less comfortable with face to face meetings. In these cases, managers can send them questions and allow them to send a response. Having time to think through answers can make them feel less “put on the spot.” 

Managers should also reassure staff that feedback will be kept confidential, that there is no right or wrong answer, and that they will not be penalized for speaking candidly. 

Bottom Line

Good managers encourage feedback in the workplace. They also understand that communication should be a two-way street. In other words, managers should not be the only ones giving feedback. They must also be able to receive it graciously and implement it to improve their performance. For good managers, all opinions matter in the workplace. 

However, managers should also recognize that not all people feel comfortable with the idea of sharing their opinions with their superiors. This is why managers and leaders must build a culture of feedback from day one. By allowing team members to voice their honest opinions without fear of reprisal, managers can improve their role. With a positive process that allows rank-and-file employees to also provide feedback for managers, everyone will benefit. 

WM logo

Try Workmates Interactive Demo

Click trough it yourself with
interactive demo.

Author Bio:

Baidhurya Mani has been working as a full-time online entrepreneur for over 7 years. During this time, he successfully built multiple businesses focused on online courses and affiliate marketing.

Baidhurya is the founder of He regularly shares tips, tools, and strategies to help creators and entrepreneurs build a successful online course business.

Was this article helpful?
Yes, thanks
Not really
🎉 Awesome!
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Got it!
Thanks for your feedback!
The 12 Most Common HR Mistakes
Learn how to avoid common HR mistakes that frustrate employees and plague organizations.
Download Now