Tips: How to discuss things with your manager

You and your manager are both responsible for realising fun and spirit in your daily work.

It is crucial you discuss your personal circumstances, the relationships you have with your colleagues, and what you are struggling with in your daily activities. Although it might be tempting to discuss these issues with your colleagues, it makes you stronger when discussing these improvement areas with your manager. 

But how do you engage in a conversation on areas of improvement? Some people approach their manager effortlessly to discuss their issues, other people do not look forward to this. In the list below a few hints are provided to help you engage a conversation with your manager. 

  1. Prepare

”Preperation is Key”. Think on forehand about what you want to say to your manager and how you want to say it. When possible discuss it with a colleague on forehand. Take a good look at your own arguments and how your manager could react on it. A good preparation prevents you from being speechless. Ensure you have enough examples to substantiate your argument on certain bottlenecks of the organisation. Conrete examples always work better than vague descriptions!

Thanks to a proper preparation you are able to engage in a good conversation, don’t throw a tantrum and clear off. Also think about what you want to achieve with the conversation on forehand. Do you only want to feel heard or do you want to see clear consequences to improve the situation. If so, which consequences are needed?  Purposely engage in a conversation.

  1. Discuss your workload? Emphasize the interest of your employer

Excessive workload is an issue. For you, because you cannot finish your work. You make too many hours, you become stressed and even sick after a while. But in many cases also for the company. Because:

  • Excessive work load decreases quality and increases complaining customers;
  • Excessive work load affects motivation and productivity on the long-term;
  • Excessive work load results in extra costs like recovery activities for the made mistakes anda higher absence rate.
  • Excessive work load causes the company to live ‘day-by-day: you haven’t got the time to think about long-term activities, plans, new production opportunities, or possibilities to do you work differently and better than before.

Come back on these issues in the conversation with your manager: excessive workload is bad for the employees, but after some time it affects the organisation as well. Ask for help to reduce the workload. Prepare, for example, by mapping out how much time you spend on certain tasks on an average working day and try to find solutions with your manager to reduce the workload.

  1. A good conversation

You achieve most when the conversation is held in a tranquil environment, the arguments come first and you try to understand each other’s point of view. Empathise with the other and do not only talk about your challenges, but also about possible solutions. Emphasising enhances the conversation. Say what you feel and stick to your true self. Often your manager will naturally drop his or her guard and this steers the conversation in the right direction. Always strive for a win-win.

Good communication is essential. Be clear about what you want to say, give concrete examples and listen to your employer as well. When you feel cornered, accused or uncomfortable in any other way, then state this clearly. Try to stick to the key points and look for causes and matching solutions.

  1. Make agreements

Make concrete agreements. Ensure you discuss what you are going to do about it, who does what and when?

When the first conversation was too much of a burden and you were not able to conclude? Plan a new appointment. Both of you should take time to settle out and start the next conversation looking for solutions vividly.

Do you wanna know more?

Want to know more? Please contact Marthe van der Kint .