When you have concerns about the way things are going at work, from safety threats to performance issues, you want to know that they're going to be handled as professionally as possible.
In many cases, however, it can be daunting to approach your employer with the problem. By assessing these methods and determining which one will be most effective for your workplace environment, you'll find that you're in a better position to let your employer know what's impacting your job.
1. Choose the Right Timing
It's best not to approach your boss when you know they're headed into or out of a stressful meeting. Consider the time of day and what tasks your boss already has on their plate. Right before lunch or the end of the workday can make your boss more stressed or shorter with your concerns. When you choose the right time, you'll know that your boss is calm and prepared for whatever you need to bring to the table.
2. Evaluate Solutions Before the Conversation
Sometimes, you have concerns and need your boss to troubleshoot the results. However, there are also situations where you can offer solutions instead of relying on your boss to do all the work. This showcases your skills as an employee and lets your boss know that you're willing to negotiate and work for the results you need.
Offering solutions is particularly critical when you have a health or safety concern. For instance, if you're having migraines as a result of your regular job tasks, suggesting the use of noise-canceling headphones or dimmer lights could show your boss that you're already troubleshooting and eager to find a solution for the problem.
3. Approach the Right Person
If you have a concern about how things are going at work, make sure you approach the right person. Going over your boss's head and involving upper-level management before having the chance to sit down with you can make your boss feel marginalized, ignored, or angry.
Follow the chain of command when addressing your concerns. It can also be helpful to know who you need to go to with a specific issue. For example, is a conflict with a co-worker something that should go straight to HR or does your boss need to be involved in the process?
4. Don't Get Emotional
When there are interpersonal conflicts or safety concerns at play, it's easy to get emotional about the situation. When you address your boss, you need to set your emotion to the side. Not only does this mean remaining calm and rational about the situation even when what you really want to do is rage, it also means offering facts, rather than emotional recitations about the argument.
5. Be Specific
Along the same lines of bringing facts rather than emotions, make sure you're bringing your boss specific facts. Saying, "I just can't get along with Marjorie," or, "I feel like you always favor Dan," is a surefire way to put someone on the defensive. Listing specific instances and evidence can go a long way toward proving your point and making it clear that you aren't just making trouble.
The same is true of safety concerns: if you've noticed that procedure isn't being followed with regards to a specific issue, make sure you've documented occurrences and can tell your boss exactly what's wrong with how the issue is being handled.
Learning how to go to your boss calmly and in a professional manner is one of the best ways to increase your standing at work and make it easier to handle any situations that might arise. If you need more help with that process, contact us today to learn more about how to improve your interactions with your employer.