A reader emailed about her “incompetent” manager. “What should I do?” If rational, every manager would welcome constructive criticism. In the real world, criticizing one’s manager may equate to career suicide. What can an employee do?
Two considerations are paramount: corporate culture and avenues for indirect communication. Corporate culture governs. If the enterprise is a meritocracy, honest criticism is likely a virtue. If the enterprise rewards people for political maneuvering rather than achievement, don’t bother.
Avenues for indirect communication include HR and a mentor. Seek advice and intercession from both. Ultimately, though, employees owe managers direct feedback, however delicately expressed.