Effective Ways to Have a Word With Your Boss

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?  If your job is not going as well as you’d like, and you think you have a good idea for improving it, how do you tell your boss about it?  Here are ten suggestions:

1.Be direct

A great drawback in any communication is lack of clarity.  Neither party should have to guess at what the other is trying to say, or have to hope the other will get the point.

2.  Be a good listener.

It pays to pick up on your reasons behind a boss’s decision.  Doing this could give you a clue on how to modify proposals that are turned down.

3.  Be natural and comfortable.

Effective communication is often stumped by nervousness on the part of one or both people involved.  One good way to put an end to the jitters is to think through what you want to say in advance.

4.  Get to know your boss.

Once you’ve conquered nervousness, focus on getting to know your boss better.  Ask questions.  Find out your boss’s likes and dislikes.  Build in day-to-day informal communication within proprietary bounds.  The boss will also know if you are “bootlicking.”

5.  Let your boss know you.

Talk to your boss about your interests and goals.  Don’t just assume he or she knows.  Let your personality come through and highlight your accomplishments.  If you think you have done a good job, there is nothing wrong with saying so.

6.  Keep your boss informed.

Let your superior know about the progress of your work.  If you are behind or anticipate a problem, tell your boss ahead of time.  It’s possible he or she can help you.  At any rate, if a problem does occur, at least the supervisor will have had a chance to think about it.

7.  Ask questions.

It’s too easy for supervisors or managers to assume you know what they want and why you are working on a particular project.  If you have a question about your job, speak up.  Otherwise, if you end up making a mistake because of lack of information, the supervisor may only see it as poor performance on your part since he or she didn’t know you had questions.

8.  Don’t go around your boss.

If you have a problem or question, take it to your immediate supervisor first.  Sidestepping your boss on work-related problems only destroys trust and hampers communication.

9.  Be thorough.

Try to present a complete and accurate set of details about any situation you discuss with your boss.  You may not know everything, but getting only half the facts can cause serious problems and prove to be embarrassing to both you and your boss.

10.  Be brief.

Air complaints, make suggestions, discuss goals—but in doing so, be as concise are possible.  Supervisors and managers often have several people reporting to them and many activities to track.  If your supervisor thinks every conversation with you will last an hour, you probably won’t have many conversations.  Through planning, you can keep your talk brief and to the point.

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