Bringing up a problem to your boss might sound like a scary concept, but delivering your message shouldn’t be difficult if you go about it the right way. By avoiding a confrontation and sitting down with your boss privately, you can build a trusting relationship with one another and tackle any issues together.

Here are a few tips on how to bring up a problem to your boss in the right way.

Mention that you wish to have a meeting

A pretty obvious first step but a crucial one nonetheless. Give your boss a heads up that you wish to speak to them before you sit them down. This will show your boss that you would like some time to speak to them about something important and from there you can both arrange a suitable time.

Consider your tone of voice

Don’t go into the meeting all guns blazing because you will immediately seem off-putting and your boss won’t appreciate what you’re saying. Instead, be gracious about your issue and go into the meeting ready to speak in a calm and rational manner. Your boss will be more understanding if you are mature and compassionate as opposed to being aggressive and argumentative.

Describe the problem clearly

When you finally sit down to talk with your boss, make sure you outline your issue clearly so they are fully aware of what the problem is. Sometimes it’s a good idea to write some bullet points down prior to your meeting to make sure you don’t forget anything important. Explain your situation and why this particular issue is bothering you because in order to get the outcome you want, you will have to be as clear and as concise as possible.

Take responsibility if applicable

This is dependent on the type of issue you are approaching your boss with, but if the issue is something you have caused or you are involved in, take responsibility for your part. Acknowledging the issue is a good way to show your boss that you are aware of the problem and you wish to sort it out maturely. It’s also a good way to maintain trust between you and your boss if you are honest.

Figure out a solution together

Coming up with a solution is your main focus when you approach your boss with a problem – after all, that is why you’ve arranged a meeting with them in the first place. You may already have a solution in mind but if not, the meeting should help you and your boss come up with a few potential solutions. This is your opportunity to define each of the options you have and the pros and cons of these options. It will also show your boss that you are being proactive and are willing to consider the best possible outcomes.

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