As a professional, you owe it to your boss—and your team—to be open and honest. But it’s one of the hardest thing to bring bad news. Both on a personal, as well as a working level. It could be something simple like not being able to finish a task in time, or a problem you just can’t solve on your own. Before having A Big Talk With The Boss, here’s some practical advice that might come in handy.
Talk in person (always)
As tempting as it might be to spill the beans via email and avoid an awkward confrontation, it’s key to do it in person. Show respect for your supervisor by delivering bad news behind closed doors. Schedule a private meeting if you need to in order to ensure the two of you will be alone.
The sooner, the better
Schedule the talk as soon as possible so your boss can address the problem head on. Also, it doesn’t look like you were sitting on important intel.
It’s not what you say, but how you say it
Preparing for the conversation will help you project calm confidence. To keep the discussion with your boss nonthreatening, control the tone of your voice by speaking rationally, not emotionally. The minute emotions start taking over your presentation, your boss is likely to respond to the emotion rather than to the content of what you are saying.
Bring solutions for damage control
Even if you can’t solve the problem on your own, it’s best to bring your boss some potential solutions. Before going to your boss, think hard about what it will take to resolve the issue. Don’t dump the problem in your boss’s lap and expect him/her to find a solution. A good way to start is to say “I’ve got this problem and I need your help in finding a solution. Here’s the issue… I think a good way to address it is to do this… I’ll need help with… What do you think?” Make sure you take responsibility for seeing the issue through to its resolution.
Wrap it up
To finish up the conversation, ask your boss if she has any specific concerns or feedback. Then shake hands (or hug it out).
(via Dougsguides / image via Pinterst/JulieWilson)