Tips for Talking to the Boss
Whether you are an entry level professional or an executive with decades of experience, having difficult conversations with your superior is always a tad intimidating. In this blog post we will introduce 4 basic tips for approaching these difficult conversations with an open mind.
- Don’t be afraid to solicit the advice of others. There is value in the experiences and advice of others. Seeking advice from a coworker or friend that you trust prior to a meeting with your boss can help you get your head on straight while you mentally prepare for the possible scenarios. This does not mean that you should go about the office asking every coworker for advice on how you should talk to your boss; it simply means that the words and experiences of others could provide you with another outlet for mental preparation when chosen carefully.
- Be open to a discussion that includes possible constructive criticism. Open, two-way dialogue is essential for moving forward, both in the workplace and the world in general. When approaching a difficult meeting or conversation with your boss, it is important to walk in prepared for suggestions they may have for improvement, in addition to your own ideas. Do not take suggestions or criticisms as a personal attack, but rather as an opportunity for professional growth.
- Listen if you expect to be listened to. There must be a shared courtesy towards each other through intent listening in order to achieve an open conversation. While these meetings can be difficult, they are meant to be challenging in order to forge the way for professional progress. If you have specific suggestions or criticisms that you feel should be heard by your superior, then you must be prepared to show the same courtesy to them by listening and reflecting on their sentiments, even if you do not like, agree or want to hear what they have to say.
- Choose all responses carefully. These difficult conversations are challenging for a reason. The content of these discussions isn’t always pleasing, and the emotional response can be hard to hide; however, the professional response must take over and you must leave the personal emotions at the door. Remember, these meetings are not typically personal, and anything said should be regarded as a professional reflection rather than a personal one. Keep this in mind when responding to questions or comments that you may not agree with; your responses will either show an overabundance of inappropriate emotion or a heightened level of reflection and professionalism.
While these four guidelines are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to difficult conversations in the workplace, they are an essential starting point for any employee that may be experiencing anxiety concerning a conversation with their boss. When you are headed into your next possibly uncomfortable or intimidating meeting, take our advice and remember, success is in the mental preparation; go in with an open mind and be equipped for both the good and bad.
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