Can I complain against my boss?

Whether in the private or professional area, addressing critical questions and problems often requires courage and overcoming.

Especially if the criticism is directed against the superior. Because an angry reaction from the boss can have unwanted consequences for the critic. The hiding of points of criticism that affect the supervisor usually does not help. Justified criticism should be expressed at the latest when the behavior of a boss has a negative impact on the economic success of the company or the employees.

Courage to criticize

The Works Constitution Act legally supports employee complaints by stating that an employee must not suffer any disadvantages from criticism.

According to a study by the market research institute Forsa, 96 percent of employees do not consider their boss to be sufficiently critical.

Every second person is dissatisfied with the professional and social support from their superiors. However, the question of how a boss can optimally support his employees is partly lost in the everyday business of entrepreneurs. And one or two critical tips can also be very helpful for a manager. Some companies try to do justice to these issues with surveys on employee satisfaction or an anonymous suggestion scheme. If such measures do not exist or if the existing criticism concerns the direct relationship with the supervisor, employees should first seek a one-to-one conversation before going to the works council or lawyer. Because professional and objective criticism can also have a very positive effect on existing imbalances and the personal assessment of an employee.

So tell your boss

According to communication experts, criticizing is one of the most difficult conversation situations. In order to master this successfully, it is important to prepare properly. This means that an employee should collect factual arguments before talking to the boss and formulate them in the right tone. The following basic rules generally apply:

  • Criticism of the supervisor should always be made verbally in a situation that is as undisturbed as possible.
  • Critical comments on an incident should be made as soon as possible.
  • Criticism should not be emotional and personal, but factual and professional.
  • The start of the conversation should be positive.
  • Eye contact is important during the conversation.
  • Threats, accusations and personal attacks are taboo in a critical discussion, both on the part of the employee and the boss.
  • Points of criticism must be specifically addressed and exemplified.
  • The other person's point of view on the criticism presented should be inquired about and their arguments addressed.
  • The conversation should be solution-oriented with your own, as flexible as possible, proposed solutions.
  • The critical discussion should, if possible, lead to a result and have a positive end.

All of these points cannot always be implemented. For example, the concrete and brief formulation of critical concerns requires experience and practice. It is also difficult to successfully conduct such a critical discussion with the supervisor if he does not consider the points mentioned for his own conversation behavior.

Conclusion: criticize carefully and objectively

Many employers demand openness and an independent and attentive way of working from their employees. This is also associated with critical thinking. The resulting points of criticism should therefore always be expressed by employees if they damage the company's success or the well-being of the employees. It often has a positive effect on superiors when they notice that employees want to improve specific issues. Because critical situations and conflicts can only relax if they are addressed openly and objectively.


For everyone who always wants to be UP-TO-DATE in a JOB. From career planning and salary negotiations to exciting studies and valuable expert tips. Once a week, free of charge and straight to your mailbox.

You have successfully registered!

Also interesting and worth reading