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Management Critique

by Sally Schroder

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.

– Kip Caffey, Cary Street Partners

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