Good morning~

I was motivated to join this forum when I learned that I was about to be faced with a dilemma at work.  We have new upper level management in place.  All staff are being interviewed about current processes, job roles, etc..  Colleagues who have attended these meetings have been asked to give feedback on a number of topics including:  processes, our job duties and responsibilities, best work examples, the groups we manage, and also our managers.

My group has a  very challenging manager.  Some of my colleagues have chosen not to comment on him during the interview.  Some have given specific examples of poor behaviors.  Some have given a big picture overview of the problem behaviors.

I wonder what the best approach is?  If I pretend that all is well, I may look foolish as I know that they have already received a great deal of negative feedback on this manager.  However, if I share some of the problems, I may look like a complainer and/or appear to have a bad attitude. 

Our jobs are at stake following this interview and I want to approach it delicately. 

I do believe that our organization would be better served to have someone else in that role.  The issues are profound and have led to some very unhappy clients.

I appreciate feedback and suggestions!

robin_s's picture
Training Badge

Just my opinion, but if they have already been informed as to the issues with your boss, and you act as if all is well, you may be perceived as being more loyal to him than to the company.  If his behavior is hurting the company, as you say, then if I were you I'd express my concerns, in an objective and professional way.  I think specific examples, as some have done, would be better than a "big picture". 

Again, this is just MY opinion. With your job on the line, though, you have to feel comfortable with your decision in this.  Best of luck to you.

afmoffa's picture

 Hi! And Welcome!

Search the previous podcasts for the one called "Meeting a Senior Executive"

Also, this discussion might be helpful. Certainly I had fun writing it!

timrutter's picture

Mrs S,

I've been in a similar dilemma and found the 360 review podcast a career saver:

Hope this helps you as much as it did me


RaisingCain's picture


How would you want the people working for you to talk to your boss? Do that.
Also, you said you just joined…don’t be discouraged by my short (over simplified) response…or the responses that point you to podcasts. Most of the time the responses are very detailed and very helpful. In this case…those podcasts say it best, really.
Here is what I would do. I would make it clear to the person sitting across from me that when I work for them I’ll treat them with respect. I would respond mostly this way. “I don’t have all the information and can’t comment on that.”


mrs_s's picture

I really enjoyed your post!  It was very funny.  While I didn't put an positive spin on things that aren't going well and truly need to be changed during our re-organization, I didn't make personal criticisms.  I hope it was the right choice.

mrs_s's picture

I appreciate this suggestion.  I used that exact phrase to avoid having to discuss the details around some issues that have recently occurred. 


_Ryan_'s picture

I would be honest but stick to facts and specific instances as much as possible.


SteveProthero's picture

In terms of being honest and sticking to the facts, I would also try demonstrating some understanding of what your manager may be facing. I have been in a situation on many occasions where junior staff are not very happy about their manager but on a number of occasions they are unaware of the pressures that being placed on that manager by their (boss's boss or colleagues) manager. So by all means stick to the facts and be honest but maybe you need to test out what else is going on the environment that may be impacting on the way your manager is operating.


Steve Prothero


mfculbert's picture

I am concerned that "being honest" will encourage some people to act against their own best interest. I agree that you should never speak anything but the truth BUT you must take care of your own future first.

The company has heard about your manager and the shortcomings. A neutral phrase such as "I do my best to meet my bosses requests on time and in good spirits." or "I do not know all the demands placed on my boss so do not feel it is my place to comment on that." may frustrate the interviewer but should also show your commitment to stay out of the mud.

My counsel, do not say anything to your boss's superior that you have not already told your boss. I made that mistake once. It was not a pleasant learning experience.

mrs_s's picture

I appreciate the advice that the posters gave me last summer.  In a series of discussions that turned out to be interviews, I did not say anything negative about my boss or his boss.  When I was asked about what happened on specific projects, I'd detail what I did and anything that others did that I could give positive feedback on.

When asked about my bosses contributions, specifically, I said that he didn't typically keep me up to speed on his daily activities so they'd have to ask him about that.

It turned out that my boss had been taking full credit for everything I was doing, but after being grilled in a series of his own interviews was unable to describe the process or even the end product.

In the end, my boss AND my boss's boss were both let go.  Sadly, I think the main reason the boss's boss was let go was because he was not able to control the erratic behavior of my boss. 

I feel good knowing that I didn't any backstabbing or "throwing under the bus".  I figured all of our work products would speak for themselves.  And so they did.  I was double promoted into my boss's boss's position.   I didn't have to play games or be nasty (even if nasty was accurate!) to get there - I just had to show my work and some future plans.

The good news is, what had been the most unprofitable division in the company is now running smoothly.  Not a week goes by that I don't hear about how happy everyone is with our new structure.

So thanks again!  It was a precarious situation that could have gone either way and I sure that the good advice helped me out :-)



cim44's picture
Training Badge

Great story! Thanks for sharing.