The Beginner’s Guide To Respectful Communication With Your Boss

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Being able to communicate with your boss in a respectful, professional, polite manner is an essential skill that employees should have regardless of their place of work. Communicating with high-level management is a huge challenge when it comes to internal communication in organizations.

While certain business communication tools can help you save energy, money, and time, it’s still important for you to get a grasp on respectful communication. Your bosses hold the key to the advancement of your career. They have a huge influence on the way you perceive the workplace—a good boss can make all the difference between dreading work or looking forward to it.

The average person typically works around 8 hours a day—that’s a big chunk of your life, and it only makes sense to do things that will help you enjoy the work you do. This includes learning how to respectfully communicate with your boss.

According to a corporate motivational speaker, here’s all you need to know:

Prepare beforehand

Before you start preparing for a serious conversation with your boss, it’s important to figure out your own professional aspirations first. Consider the different aspects of your job that bring you the highest level of fulfillment, the areas you’ve found most success in, and the way you want your daily work life to look. Taking a look at all these different fields of your professional life can help you determine your career goals, and you’ll be able to answer any questions from your boss regarding your future.

Each company has its own unique size and structure that affect the amount of opportunities available for employee advancement. A large company that has hundreds of different employees might have a lot more leadership opportunities and positions for vertical advancement. Do some research on the opportunities that are available to you to gain some level of clarity and focus. This information can help you be more clear when you’re expressing your interests to your boss.

Now that you’re ready to answer all kinds of questions, it’s time to rehearse the conversation. It can help you feel more focused, prepared, and calm for whatever is about to come. You can’t accurately predict your boss’s reaction, but you’ll be able to get your point across in a clear and concise manner.

State your needs clearly

Your manager probably has a lot on their plate already. They don’t have a lot of free time to sit and listen to the entire background of whatever you’re trying to communicate to them. Whether you’re asking to get approval for something or are giving them some sort of heads-up about a particular situation, it’s important to state things clearly so they can decide on an outcome in a more efficient manner.

Respect your boss’s preferred method of communication

Everyone has different communication preferences—some bosses have an open door and don’t mind if you pop in for a quick chat regarding an important matter. Others might prefer to get a heads-up through a calendar invite or IM chat. Timing is also important—pay close attention to find periods of time where your boss isn’t too stressed, and contact them during those times if you can.

Show value

Your qualifications, personality, and experience are what led you to being hired—don’t be afraid of doing something that will add value to your organization! Try not to shy away from voicing your informed opinion—bosses want their employees to be able to speak up about challenges and realities within a business that should be addressed. If you speak with confidence and put forward reasonable suggestions and facts, you’ll be able to build confidence in yourself.

Maintain an open line of communication

A lot of employees feel too nervous about talking to their boss if there isn’t an established line of open communication. It can be difficult to deliver your opinion or question with confidence if you aren’t able anticipate their reaction. If you want to combat the feeling of nervousness and hesitancy, try arranging biweekly meetings with your boss to discuss your issues, seek advice, and build a strong rapport.

If you believe this isn’t necessary within your role, try socializing with your boss more—whether you’re going on team lunches or catching up in the kitchen, it’s important to feel comfortable with whatever you want to say.

Check your body language

Appear confident through your body language when you’re talking to your boss. Stand straight, keep your posture tall, and avoid slouching or fidgeting. Maintain eye contact, and slightly lean into your conversation with them. An employee that looks at everything apart from the person they’re talking to can come across as timid. If you believe you struggle with these points, it’s best to practice them before approaching your manager.

Plan the time that you want to take off

Every employee has the right to take an allotted amount of time off during the year, and it’s encouraged for you take a break and focus on yourself. However, be considerate of your employer when you’re planning your annual leave. Give them plenty of time to consider your request and approve it. You’d want to know in advance if you had to cover for a colleague while they took time off as well.

Make your boss feel empowered

You’re automatically going to look good if your boss does. If you make your boss look bad, you’ll look bad as well. Think of ways that will make your boss appear great—there’s no better way to earn your next promotion.

Stay loyal

Don’t keep any secrets that are related to work from your manager. If you ever make a mistake, it’s important to own your part in it and explain the way you’re planning on rectifying it. Maintaining a strong bond with your supervisor is essential for a good career. If you or your boss ever move to another company, you’ll have a great contact who will support you in your career.

Offer to do more

If you’ve got some spare time after you’re done with your assigned work, you can make things easier for your employer by taking on responsibility for some tasks that they might not love doing. It will help your boss, and you’ll be able to learn about different aspects of the organization, giving you an opportunity to move up in your career.

Stick to the facts

Going into a business discussion without any factual evidence will ruin any chances of building good credibility at your workplace, let alone getting you a promotion any time soon. Management already has their own opinions, and they may not want to hears yours unless they’ve specifically asked you about them. If you don’t agree with a certain opinion or the angle they’ve decided to take on a project, back your argument up with proper evidence and facts.

Stay solution-oriented

It’s important to have some sort of solution when you go to your boss with an issue or problem. This will show them that you’re very proactive and have the ability to do your work without constant supervision. This way, you’ll be able to bring their attention to an issue while also showing that you’ve got things under control. It’s great for showing that you have the right skills to be able to progress and move up the corporate ladder.

Don’t interrupt

If you think you know more about a certain topic than your boss, you shouldn’t interrupt them while they’re still talking. Practice some patience and wait until they’re done speaking before providing your opinion in a professional and constructive manner.

Accept constructive criticism

A lot of employees tend to take criticism rather personally. Remember, your boss doesn’t have a vendetta against you. They just want you to accept your mistake and commit to doing better next time.

Want to learn more about respectful communication in the workplace?

Steve Gilliland can help you out! He’s a top-notch motivational speaker who uses a combination of captivating words and classy humor to provoke people’s thoughts and help them make positive changes in their lives. Organizations hire him as a professional speaker for events to help their employees gain a better perspective on their careers and bridge the gap between them and the company. His keynote presentations make him one of the top business speakers in North America.

You can book Steve’s services here.

“Your talk was so inspiring as well as thought-provoking. The audio and video delivery were awesome. Your virtual presentation helped a lot to improve our current situation.”  – Chen Li, Senior Project Engineer, A.O. Smith Corporation Technology Center