In a time when there are so many ways to be in touch -- there’s phone, email, text messaging, Gchat and talking IRL, to name a few -- speaking effectively with your boss can be complicated work. And as difficult as it is to perfect, good communication is one of the key elements to your productivity, your happiness and the chance that you get the raise you want and need.
Here are things you should generally avoid saying to your boss:
1."It’s not my fault."
Even if it’s not, you don’t need to say so. This isn’t conducive to solving a problem and "you want to be solution focused and positively focused," Woodward said. Instead of defending yourself or putting blame elsewhere, offer some options for fixing the problem.
2."I need a raise."
No. Nope. When asking for a raise, you’d be wise to put things in the context of your boss and the company, Pollack said. Talking about why you deserve a raise or promotion should not be about the "I," she said, but instead how you have added value to the company or saved it costs. "It doesn’t mean you’re not advocating for yourself, it just means that when communicating your needs to your boss, it can’t be about you."
3."My gut says..."
Intuition is cool and all, but it’s not guaranteed to be right. "Never go to your boss with a feeling that you can’t back up with data," Woodward said. Your boss may very well care about your beliefs or your first instincts, but to ensure your senses are properly working, do some research before spilling your guts.
4."We’ve already tried that."
This remark may sound like laziness and resistance to your boss, an unwillingness to think. What has been tried before may not have been tried the right way. "Circumstances are always changing," Woodward said. You may have tried a particular technique with the wrong resources or the wrong people. Instead of saying something has been done, you can say you’ve tried something similar, and ask how to adjust it to get a different result. That’s what you should be asking yourself. Then provide your boss with those answers.
5."That’s not my job."
Your job is to support your boss. Telling them something isn’t under your job description isn’t just annoying, but it’s counterproductive. "The connotations are very negative," Pollak said. This doesn’t mean you should personally take on every task your managers ask of you. Find ways to delegate and offer solutions and resources (example: Mention that Karen is a whiz at Excel and might be better for a specific part of the project). "You have to think about it from your boss’ perspective," Pollack said. Think about what will get the task done quickly and effectively, rather than putting up a roadblock that makes your boss’ life harder.