Confronting your boss is never easy. Nobody likes hearing they are wrong and this particular person, controls whether or not you still have a job tomorrow. Most employees won’t even consider confronting their boss, but your boss is still a person. Everybody makes mistakes and is wrong sometimes. How can you fix your mistake or right a wrong if nobody tells you about it?
Getting your message across the right way is the hard part. It is easy for someone to misunderstand you if you use say the wrong thing or use the wrong tone. You want to be able to dish out the difficult feedback but you don’t want your boss to feel attacked when you do. Here is how you can confront your boss safely.
Schedule a meeting
Your boss is a busy person. An easy way to upset the boss right at the beginning is by catching them off guard. Your boss is probably busy and you just interrupted his day and schedule. Scheduling a meeting with your boss gives you the opportunity to speak with them without worrying about them having something else to do. You get a chance to set a time limit to share your ideas.
Use “I” statements
Using statements with “you” can be seen as attacking and hostile. It can make your boss feel the need to get defensive and possibly angry. You want to use statements with “I”. They sound less accusatory and more conversational. For example:
- “You are overworking your employees.”
It sounds cold and accusatory. Instead, try something that sounds less accusatory and gives your boss a sense of wanting to help:
- “I think that some of us feel that we are taking on more than we can handle.”
Make sure you know the whole story
Before you begin pinpointing problems, make sure you understand the entire story. Ask questions to help the boss see they are wrong without having to say it:
- “How do you perceive things are going?”
- “Are you happy with the situations?”
- “Are they sure about the decision or action that you’re questioning.”
If afterward, you still have to point out the issue, try asking “Am I wrong about this?” Offering to be wrong helps reduce negative feedback, leaves room for discussion and can help you get even more information. Keep the conversation interesting while you are asking questions, you don’t want to bore your boss.
Have possible solutions ready
If you have to confront your boss about an issue make sure you have at least a couple of solutions ready before you do. Having solutions that are geared toward increasing productivity at work, shows that you didn’t just schedule the meeting to complain, you want to fix the problem.
You should always have a solution, even if the issue is not your responsibility. You don’t just work for your boss, you work for a company. If you have long-term career plans with the company, it is your responsibility to help resolve the issue and move forward.
Approaching the situation in an open and positive way is the best way to get good feedback. An awesome boss will thank you for your proactive and for your commitment. You and your boss will both grow from the experience.
If you are confronted with negative feedback and face punishment, you may want to ask yourself if this is the place you want to be in your career right now. Ask yourself, “Is it time quit?” A boss who isn’t results-oriented and refuses to change, may not be worth your time and energy.
Now, if you know of an issue and have been too afraid to confront your boss, shake off your fears. Follow these steps and go into your meeting with confidence, a positive attitude, and solutions. You got this. You may even find that you have regained your motivation in the workplace. Even better, you might just leave your boss with a good impression of your future with the company.