Do you want a promotion, would like to discuss a change of role or do you have a list of grievances as long as your arm?! Nothing is going to change if you do not confront the issue and have a proper discussion with your employer. However having had years of experience on both sides of the fence, I have learned that there is definitely a right and a wrong way to approach the conversation! In order to achieve a successful outcome you will need to prepare and follow these Do’s and Don’ts!
DO – The Ground Work
Complete the exercise detailed in the previous post in order to produce a clear comprehensive list of actionable points that you want to discuss.
DO – Schedule a Suitable Time & Place
Catching your employer on the hop is a recipe for disaster. In order for you to achieve the outcome that you want, you will need to schedule proper time to discuss so that both of you are in the right headspace.
DO – Have a Clear Outcome in Mind
Before you go into the meeting, you must have a clear outcome in your mind. This is a short window that you have to achieve the change you want, so know what your end goal is at all times.
DO – Pick Your Battles
Do not go in with every tiny grievance that you have about your job. It is unrealistic and completely unprofessional. Do not expect them to solve every small grievance that you have! Furthemore your key issues will be overlooked. Pick your battles and get straight to the key points.
DO – Respect Them and their Time
Like you, they too are doing the best they can, juggling a demanding work schedule and all of the other challenges that life brings. Be respectful and understanding at all times. It is natural to become a bit self centred in a conversation that is about you! But their time is precious. So if you are running over, suggest a follow up meeting.
DO – Go in with Solutions
My biggest pet peeve is when someone comes in the door and lists twenty reasons why they are not happy and then sits back waiting for me to produce the magical wand that will instantly resolve them all! You have to work with them. The most successful outcomes that I have had have been where the person has come with proposed solutions in mind. Your boss may very well propose something else, but they will admire and value you far more if you come in with a solutions focused approach.
DO – Start on a Positive
The start of the conversation will set the tone for the whole meeting. Always start with a positive. There is nothing more mentally draining for a boss than a person who has nothing only negative points. Keep the mood of the conversation as positive and uplifting as possible.
DO – Explain the Situation Clear & Concisely
The window of time is short. Do not ramble on or go off point. Have your list of concise solution focused points and keep to that list. Stay calm and discuss each point clearly and concisely. Never assume that they know what has gone on. Give a brief professional overview as if you were speaking to a third party.
DON’T – Say you’re not Happy!
Your boss is not a therapist! When someone comes in with the vague complaint that they are not happy, it is extremely frustrating. It is such a waste for both of you if they have to spend the full allotted time trying to get to the root of what your issue is. It will also make you look very immature.
DON’T – Let Emotion take over
I understand that stress takes a huge physical toll on your body. And I have certainly had times where I have bawled to my boss! But let me tell you honestly, it achieves absolutely nothing. Once you open up the flood gates, it is very hard to close them! The whole energy changes and it is very hard to pull it back to a rational constructive conversation. So keep calm and logical.
DON’T – Have a Rant
It might make you feel better in the short term, but trust me it will be very short lived. It is unprofessional, it achieves absolutely nothing and it will just shift all of your grievances onto them. Bite your tongue and stick to your solution focused issues.
DON’T – Do All the Talking
You have asked for the meeting, so obviously your boss is going to let you lead it. However you are there to achieve a desired outcome and that will not be achieved if you do all of the talking. You need them to meet you halfway so make sure that it is a constructive two way conversation.
DON’T – Make Demands!
Nobody likes to be backed into a corner. Put yourself in your bosses shoes. Do not go into the meeting and start making demands or threats. You will lose all respect and it is almost certain that you will not achieve the desired outcome.
DON’T – Leave without Clear Next Steps
I could not tell you how many great meetings I have been in that were just that and nothing else – great meetings! If you want to achieve your desired change, you have to take a few minutes at the end of the meeting to establish clear next steps and decide who will be responsible for which actions. If you do not do this, then there really was no point in having the conservation in the first place!
If your desired work outcome is a promotion or progression, you have to understand that nothing will be handed to you on a plate unless your boss feels that you really deserve it. In my next article I will discuss the 10 Ways to get a Promotion.
All views are my own. This career series is purposely designed to follow a certain order so if you are just tuning into this series be sure to head back to the start to catch up on the tools and techniques used so far.