5 Reasons You Should Take Your Boss's Feedback Seriously

Boss giving her employee feedback
Nobody likes getting negative feedback. Andreas Kuehn / The Image Bank / Getty Images

If you have a boss you've probably received feedback from him or her. It may have come as part of a formal performance review, in a conversation after you were summoned to his or her office, or as a passing comment.

The feedback may have been positive, but if it was it's unlikely you'd be reading this article. After all, why would you need an article to tell you to take kudos about your work seriously?

You would, without a doubt, be happy to do that! It's the other kind of feedback that this article addresses—negative feedback that lets you know your boss isn't quite happy with something you did.

Criticism, even when it's constructive, stings and your hurt feelings could keep you from thinking clearly. You may think your boss has assessed your performance unfairly or that she doesn't know what she's talking about.

Maybe you think he is picking on you (and you may be right) or that there's nothing you can do to improve. Your initial reaction may be to simply ignore your boss and continue doing things as you have. That wouldn't be very productive or prudent. You have two choices: you can try to convince your boss that he's wrong or you can implement his feedback. One thing you can't do is ignore it. Here are 5 reasons you should take your boss's feedback seriously:

  1. He Pays Your Salary: Regardless of whether you agree with what your boss has to say about your performance, you should take it to heart. He wants you to do your job a certain way and because he is paying you for your services, his feedback is of the utmost importance. That doesn't mean it's accurate. It may even be entirely wrong, but since he, as your employer, has an obligation to pay your salary, you, in turn, have one to do the job as he expects you to.
  1. He Can Fire You: If you choose not to fulfill your end of the employer-employee deal, for example, you choose not to implement your boss's feedback, you run the risk of losing your job. That's not necessarily a bad thing. If you can't perform your job the way you want to, this may not be the best place of employment for you.
  1. He Has More Experience Than You Have: Before you decide that your boss is wrong, though, carefully consider the feedback he has given you. Is it really as out of line as you think? Maybe his experience, which may be significantly greater than yours, has influenced his opinions of your performance. Perhaps he knows a bit more than you do.
  2. You May Learn Something Important: Now back to that experience your boss has. You may or may not think your boss is all that smart. Experience, however, is a great teacher. He may actually be able to pass on some valuable lessons to you. If it turns out he truly isn't terribly intelligent, remember to do the opposite of what he tells you to do ... when he's no longer paying your salary.
  3. You May Learn Something Very Important ... Like Your Boss Has It In for You: Does your boss seem overly critical of everything you do? Is she like that with everyone or just with you? If the former is true, this may just be her personality. If she seems to only focus on your performance, it is clear that she is either unhappy with your work or with you in general. Ask others who are unbiased for their opinions of this situation.

    If you have a mentor, he or she would be the perfect person with whom to discuss this. If not, try to find someone who is familiar with the type of work you do but does not work for the same employer, or at least doesn't have the same boss. Describe what you are doing and the feedback you've received.

    If you learn the negative feedback is unwarranted, you may have to face up to the fact that no matter what you do, as long as you work for this particular boss, things aren't likely to change. It's unfortunate but it's very valuable information to have. Your job may lead to only a dead end since a boss who has it in for you is unlikely to allow you to advance. It may be time to quit your job and move on.