Difficulty with talking to your Boss? Top Ten Tips

Sometimes, speaking to boss or leader about personal issues or work related problems can be a frighting ordeal for all of us. Below is a quick list of things to keep in mind when you need to discuss a topic With your Boss or Leader that may make you nervous.

1. Keep your emotions out of it – Don’t let your personal feelings add to the issue, “drama is for your momma” and not the work place. (I’m starting off with a little funny business to keep you interested – hopefully) This does not mean you need to be a robot with mechanical insides, but rather make sure you have calmed down and are able to clearly express the problem or issue at hand. It’s often hard to keep your cool but it’s critical for good communications and frankly not looking like a spas in front of the one you are talking with….

2. Ask around first – Think back when you were a child, remember how you would wait for the appropriate time to ask your mom/dad if you could go out late or have a friend spend the night? Well the same principles apply here. Check with a few fellow co-workers and make sure the timing is right and the attitudes are in line. If your boss is stressed, distracted or having a bad day you may want to hold off… You may get a Yes if you keep this simple “trick” in mind.

3. Write a list – Sometimes you can get flustered, fall off track or forget to bring up some of the main reasons you are discussing the issue in the first case. Regardless if you are asking for a promotion, discussing a fellow employee who is a problem for the team or just asking for vacation time. A list can keep you from forgetting the points of the conversation.

4. Keep it short – Time is important, so when you broach the subject, keep the thoughts, ideas and requests simple and concise. No need to embellish or dance around the subject. Say “Hey Boss, got a sec for a quick problem/request or discussion?” Thats really all it takes to get the show on the road.

5. You won’t always get an answer – Sometimes your request may be of the nature where the boss/leader is not able to supply an answer right away. They may need some time to consider the issue and supply an answer that works for you and the company. Don’t take that as “My Buss sucks, hates me or can’t make a decision”. Some things take more time than others. ESPECIALLY when asking for a raise or promotion, this can take months to a year. Just be prepared for that possible delay and don’t let it get you bent out of shape.

6. Don’t be a “Pest”! – If you do ask, and get a “I’ll have to get back to you on that” response from your boss, make sure you let some time (and I don’t mean 5 minutes) pass before you ask for an answer to the question again. Don’t let the delay freak you out and cause you to act emotionally.

7. Ask more than once – And on the back of item 5 and 6, do ask more than once. If you are looking to advance your career, take a sabbatical, ask a huge favor, after a long length of time has passed from the original request, ask again. This is especially true when discussing a raise or promotion. Ask again in a years time, the landscape at work may have changed or they will see that you truly want to expand your roll and you never know, you may have had a great year! Don’t miss out just because the fist time you asked you received a “No”.

8. They are people too – Keep in mind, no mater how terrifying your boss/leader is they likely have a family and friends in some capacity. If you are having family issues, an ailing child or are going through a divorce, you need to remember they likely have struggled with a similar problem and needed help too. This is not to encourage you to have a “Pity Party” or expect them to say yes, but rater to help you remember life can be hard for everyone and we all need a little help at times.

9. Know the HR policies – If you feel you may be approaching HR territory, (FMLA as an example) you may want to contact HR and become familiar with the company policies. Also keep in mind that your boss my not know all of the policies and if this is the case, don’t be arrogant or disgusted with them. If they tell you it’s not possible, make sure you respond kindly and ask that you both contact HR as you have a different understanding of the company policies. Additionally you may be asking your boss/leader to skirt the HR policies and this may put the request into the “big time favor” or you may be putting them in “between a rock and a hard place” with your request. “The More You know”…. Rainbow/Star

10. Be appreciative – Lastly (In this list at least) be thankful for the time and consideration regardless if the answer given even if it’s not what you were hoping for. You don’t want to burn a bridge or show lack of appreciation for the time and possibly work and consideration they may have given to the request. A raise or promotion can take a long time and consume many hours of additional work and meetings. An extended leave from the office will place extra work load on the team etc. So keep a good attitude regardless of the answer. You don’t want your request to have a longterm impact on your work relationship.

If you found this helpful, may I suggest an additional reading? ->

Things to think about when you are a remote leader!

Eating your own errors can build trust in the workplace!