Top 3 Best and Worst Critiques Ever Receive From A Boss

LAST UPDATE ON June 28, 2023

Leaders have a tremendous influence on their direct reports, and one of the key critical areas every successful leader should know is being able to give both redirecting and reinforcing feedback. 


Clearly, all feedback – and especially negative feedback, when handled appropriately, is critical to success. However, delivery is vital (as every marriage partner can surely attest!) Directness is welcome, but personal attacks, temper, bullying, and belittling is never successful, even (and especially) when under the guise of “for your own good.”

When your motive is to help people improve, the way you deliver the critical message is key.

Top 3 Worst Critiques

1. It’s obvious from your question that you don’t understand anything about this issue!

This boss is straight to judge before finding out the root of issues. Most people hearing this feedback will immediately want to prove that they are not totally ignorant. In actual fact, asking questions is an excellent way to learn.

2. You always or never ____________!

Once again this is a clear overestimate. While the person giving the critique is trying hard to get you to understand the importance of the issue, rather than accepting the feedback, the recipient will most often expend their energy in proving that the “always” or “never” is not true.

3. Look, I am your boss, just do what I say and you will be fine!

This is like giving a credit card to a teenager and saying, “don’t spend too much.” No one else can (or should) presume they are able to manage your career for you.

Top 3 Best Critiques

1. Help me to understand.  

Rather than assuming, ask people why they acted in a particular way. Let the receiver knows that you try your best to understand the situation in every way you can.

2. I realize you have a lot on your plate, but this needs to be your number one priority.

Helping people to prioritize is a critical skill to get your message across without being too bossy.

3. I noticed your efforts to do ___________.

That’s a good start, but you did not hit the target yet. Instead of telling people they failed, is a very good start to let your employees know that they need to work harder.

In summary, feedback is vital. Critical feedback, in particular, is both necessary and appropriate. When your motive is to help people improve, however, the way you deliver the critical message is key.

Elevating Feedback – leadership workshop is a practical and insightful 1-day workshop that will help you to communicate at a deeper level in conversations, providing tips techniques to deliver better outcomes when giving both redirecting and reinforcing feedback. You will be introduced to a framework for structuring your conversations and discover what is at stake for both parties.