Talking to your boss can be scary. You feel like you’re always being judged and you fear that you will disappoint. If you’ve done something wrong or failed at a task, talking to your boss can be the most stressful experience you can have. If you need to address an issue, communicating the wrong way can lead to drastic results.
Here are 10 tips on how to talk to your boss which should help to reduce the fear factor and make the right impression:
1. Prepare What You Want to Say
You can write down your speech or recite it in your head. Make an organized and well-thought out script so you get the most results with your meeting. Being prepared with what to say shows your boss that you’re organized and confident about the issue. If you want a raise, talk about your achievements and strengths and how valuable you are. If you want to explain a failure, make sure you know every single detail about the issue.
2. Be Specific
Never beat around the bush and never sugar coat anything. Your boss’s time is precious and every minute you waste is money lost. Be as specific as possible and make sure everything you say is honest and crystal clear.
3. Be Your Most Rational Self
If you recently broke up with your boyfriend last night and your eyes are all puffy and swollen, it may be wise to skip the talk until the next day. Make sure you are at your most rational self when you talk to your boss. No one at work wants to talk business with a crying colleague or someone whose thoughts are miles away. Be as unemotional as possible and in control – your boss wants to see an employee who has the strength to leave personal problems behind while at the workplace.
4. Be in Control of Your Actions
When you don’t reach the target sales of the quarter, admit your failures and present solutions. Be proactive and not reactive. If it was your teammates’ fault, don’t throw them under the bus and tell your boss you did your job while the others didn’t. Own up to the mistake and present solutions to the issue. Despite failures, show your value to the company by planning a course of action.
5. Be Accountable
Never put blame on the company, on a colleague, or anyone else for your failure. Sure, it may not be your fault that a dozen people resigned to transfer to a rival company, but be accountable for not initiating a retention plan. And when it is your fault, never make excuses. Admit to your shortcomings and create solutions and a promise to succeed in your future responsibilities.
6. Use Close-ended Statements
When you make a promise, don’t make statements that leave you open for more questions to follow. Instead of saying, “I plan to draft a program to make the workplace a better environment for my colleagues in my department. What do you think?” say, “I will make a program that will improve the working environment of my department and present the final draft to you in 2 days.” Close the statement and discussion and show your confidence.
7. Listen Actively
Forget everything else for a few minutes and listen to your boss. Pretend this is an interview and you have to impress him or else it will cost you your job. Give your time to your boss – smile and nod and repeat what he says. This shows your boss that you are listening.
8. Have Positive Body Language
Have a firm handshake, sit up straight, sit on the edge of the chair, smile, maintain eye contact, and nod when you agree with a statement your boss made. Having positive body language shows that you are confident in your abilities and that you are there to mean business.
9. Find the Perfect Time
Timing is everything – choose the right time to talk to your boss. Don’t go to his office when he just arrived from an out-of-town business conference, or when he just arrived on a Monday morning. Evaluate your boss’s mood and choose the perfect time to talk to him when everything is going smoothly. Late afternoons are best, as they are mostly in between projects, as well as the end of the day on a Friday – when he’s set to leave the office for the weekend. A boss in a good mood will result to a talk with good results.
10. Always Follow Up
If you asked for a raise or applied to a promotion, or promised to create a solution to a problem, follow it up in 24 to 48 hours. It shows how passionate and committed you are to your cause.
Talking to your boss can be an anxiety-provoking experience but with these tips, you’ll be confident enough to face your boss with assertiveness. A confident employee who accepts their mistakes and finds solutions to problems is impressive and it will show your boss how dedicated you are to your job.