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At times, you may need to discuss a challenging topic with your boss. This could include problems that you see or experience within the team or even issues with your manager’s actions or approach. If you don’t have a strong relationship with your boss, the idea of breaching such a topic might be terrifying. Thankfully, by being diplomatic, you can address workplace tensions and have productive conversations.

You want to remain respectful and professional as you work to tear down walls between you and your boss and discuss tricky subjects. If you don’t know how to begin, here are some tips that can help.

Identify Your Approach

Before you start a conversation, you need to see what approach is best for the situation. If you and your manager are in the midst of a conflict, you might want to review your employer’s policies first.

Many organizations have formal procedures for conflict resolution when an employee and their boss are involved. By reviewing that information, you can make sure that you use the approach outlined in the policy.

If there isn’t a policy, then you’ll need to choose your path on your own. In cases where the situation doesn’t involve a conflict, then the formal procedures might not apply, and you may have the ability to go a different route. Usually, your first step will be to speak with your boss directly when those circumstances are present.

Schedule a Meeting

Typically, you don’t want to address an issue in front of others. Similarly, trying to have a serious conversation when your boss on the fly isn’t a great idea.

Ideally, you want to schedule a one-on-one meeting with your boss. That way, your discussion can remain private, and you both can devote your full attention to the conversation.

Know What You’ll Present

Before you head to the meeting with your manager, spend some time reviewing what you want to discuss. If you’re bringing up a problem, be ready to share various details and evidence. You want the conversation to focus on facts, not feelings.

Additionally, by planning for the meeting, you can ensure that you remain professional and focused. It gives you a chance to gather your thoughts and rehearse going over crucial points, decreasing the odds that you’ll get flustered or forget something critical.

Offer Constructive Feedback

As an employee, you likely know how frustrating it can be to receive feedback that isn’t actionable. Your manager will feel the same way if what you share isn’t constructive.

If you have ideas that could remedy the issue, present them in a professional and polite manner. Be action-oriented and avoid making the feedback overly personal. Further, be open to your manager’s input as you do. In many cases, you’ll need to work together to find a suitable resolution, so use your active listening skills when your boss responds and try to understand their perspective.

Looking for the next step in your career?

By being respectful as you speak with your manager, you can make a significant amount of headway. Looking for that new job? Contact us to discuss your questions with a member of our staff today and see how our expertise can benefit you.