How to Successfully Have a Difficult Conversation with Your Boss

There will always come a time when you just need to have a difficult conversation with your boss. The main reason behind it may vary greatly, but it’s always better to address the issue in time than to ignore it. Ignoring can only make things worse in almost every aspect of life, and especially the professional field. But, it’s only natural that you don’t feel eager to approach your boss with a difficult topic. That said, the following tips can help you get your message across successfully.

 

Ask the right questions

If you don’t feel comfortable asking your boss straightforward questions, which obviously is not always a good idea, you should start small. Basically, ask questions that leave room for more feedback and conversation without being too open and suggestive. For instance, if you really need to hear what your boss’s thoughts are on your presentation, you may want to start this conversation by simply stating that you wish “another opinion on the matter”. Build your conversation slowly and don’t rush!

 

Speak politely

In order to have a difficult conversation with your boss, you need to be the one who makes the move in the first place. After all, you can’t expect your boss to start a conversation about something you’re caught up in, can you? But, in order to get the best results from striking up a conversation, you should be very polite and frame your statements carefully. For instance, if you dislike that your boss has been micromanaging you, don’t just say it like that. Instead, go with something like “I certainly would like us all to do our best together for the strategy we’ve discussed earlier.”

 

Don’t hesitate to admit you’ve been wrong, too

In case you need to have a difficult conversation with your boss about a problem you have with your co-workers, don’t just state all the things that you believe the co-workers have done wrong. It’s important to be calm and reasonable in this situation. So, you might want to start by admitting some of your own shortcomings. That way, you’ll appear as a bigger person and not just someone dissing their colleagues.

 

Ask for perspective and not a solution

In order to deal with this difficult conversation properly, you should avoid acting like an aggressor at all cost. Therefore, don’t just spill out everything that’s on your mind and demand a solution from your boss. If you want a certain situation resolved, use calm demeanor to your advantage, slowly explain the situation and politely ask for the boss’s perspective on things. This will make you look better and it will actually encourage the boss to act and give their honest opinion more likely compared to annoying demands.

 

Don’t get defensive

It’s essential that you don’t get all defensive in case it happens that you don’t fully like your boss’s feedback on the matter. Of course, make sure to explain all of your points as detailed as possible and have your questions answered properly. But, don’t put yourself in an unfavorable position by spilling excuses if your boss just doesn’t seem too keen on complying with your requests or whatever the issue may be. It’s always important to present facts and explain points rationally without losing your temper.

 

If you have something to say to your boss – say it. But, always think through how you’re going to say it. The way you hold yourself, your tone of voice and the manner you phrase your statements all makes a difference. And keeping your cool is always the best policy!