Relationships with the boss – learning in order

About communication skills: how to communicate with the boss.

When an ordinary employee has to communicate with the “upper management” (for example, the designer needs to convey his idea directly to the top manager, the client or the business owner), it can be a real challenge. How to reach an understanding? What should you consider to make your boss take you seriously? In this article – practical tips, proven experience.

If you want to learn how to communicate so that you look convincing and achieve what you want, you should attend training communication skills, but many useful things you can learn from the tips that we have prepared for you. Following them, soon you will not recognize yourself, and things will get much better, because the communication skills – this is the basis of successful business and success in any area of life.

Let’s start with an important rule. You should talk to a high boss using a scheme:

This scheme works 100%. If you approach any conversation this way, then at some point you can become a top manager yourself. Only it is not enough to know, it is necessary to actively practice the approach. That is why communication skills trainings, where models of successful communication are intensively practiced, not only help people to achieve current goals, but also change their status over time.

To look convincing

A few tips to help you look convincing and achieve the goal you came to talk to your manager for:

1. Don’t focus on the specifics of your position. Talk about the project. Whether you’re an accountant or a designer, it doesn’t matter that there are certain job specifics that maybe the boss doesn’t fully know. Above all, you are human beings and you are working on the same task, a project. Talk about the essence of the task and the project, not accounting or design.

2. Don’t come to your boss with a problem – it’s just annoying. The problem should be presented along with a solution. Discuss the solution. Bringing the solution – you speak the language of the listener, just voicing the problems – only annoying.

3. A meeting requires preparation. This means you need to know the topic well, and be ready to answer any questions on the subject. Even if you have only 5 minutes for a meeting. “Anticipate” the course of the future conversation helps training in communication skills, but you can improve yourself in this on your own. Think through what questions you might be asked, carefully compose and practice your answers.

4. Voice your goal right away. As soon as the meeting starts, the first thing you do is to state your purpose. The goal should be clearly articulated (there are exercises on drawing up goals – this is a separate topic, which is devoted to a lot of materials and training programs). If you came with a presentation, from the first slide explain what you want, preferably without summaries – save time for your colleagues.

5. Every statement should be supported by facts . Estimates, opinions – none of these things matter. Facts are necessary. It is unacceptable to speak ill of predecessors, colleagues, competitors, partners, external participants in the project. Here are examples:

  • “The design of the site is no good. I made a new version, look. Even if it is true, this approach is not taken seriously.
  • “Right now the conversion to orders on the site is 1%. We found a way to improve it. The first A/B tests of the new version showed 5%.” Such a conversation will be perceived by the interlocutor, he will continue to listen. If the facts are not there yet, it may be too early to discuss the topic.

6. Give options to choose from. If you assume that your proposal may be rejected, have another option in stock, or several at once. It’s easier to choose than to settle for one single option offered.

7. Help make the decision. To do this, describe what we’ll get as a result of the implementation, or what will happen if the decision is delayed. Make sure the person feels comfortable agreeing. You can learn this fully in communication skills training, but self-practice can do a lot, too.

The main thing important to know about top managers before going to a meeting with “the man in charge” is that they are not used to “passing the time”; they prefer to make the most of it. They care about purpose and usefulness. They need to communicate strategy, not details.

As Larry Ellison, owner of Oracle Corporation and one of the richest computer moguls in the world said, “A good top manager doesn’t get into specifics, but looks at strategic directions and ways.”

If the top manager is very busy

What to do if having a meeting with the boss is crucial, but he is constantly busy? Maybe he needs to introduce a product, or maybe he needs to talk about a critical situation. How do you get that first meeting going so that he thinks it’s important to follow up?

The tops are always busy, it is not easy to get their attention, they work hard and often without days off, so if you manage to arrange a short meeting, it should be as productive as possible. Otherwise you will never be called to this office.

At the same time, the top is an ordinary person. He just needs to be interested. If you have attended training in communication skills, you will find a way to get into contact with him. If you’re just learning the science of effective communication, listen to the advice of experts. Experts advise to pay attention to several important moments in the preparation for the meeting.

1. The dress code. Make sure that you have a business dress code – clean ironed business clothing, a neat haircut, a neat appearance.

2. The purpose of the meeting. Do you think the purpose of the meeting is to sell an idea? No. That should not be the purpose of the first meeting. Difficult things do not sell in 5 minutes. The purpose of the first meeting is to interest. Formulate what you want to get.

3. the main message. You must offer a benefit. Different managers are interested in different benefits. You need to formulate the benefit exactly for the top. It is important to deliver it perfectly.

4. Beginning of the meeting. Do not make long introductions. After a brief greeting and handing over your business card, you can get right to the point. Do not dilute your proposal, clearly state the essence, then stop and listen carefully. Do not interrupt under any circumstances. After you finish your answer, answer questions or ask questions.

Communication skills training teaches you how to listen, hold a conversation, ask questions, consider the status of the person you are talking to, and influence their opinions. Many communication, negotiation, and sales trainings advise starting with a “short conversation” or a compliment. It’s best not to use this advice if you decide to try it for the first time in a 5-minute meeting with your boss.

5. Take your time. Yes, the boss is short on time. But that doesn’t mean that you should gibber on, giving out as much information as possible in a short time. Remember that your arsenal includes not only words, but also non-verbal means of communication, as well as the materials you bring. Show the boss what you brought with you.

Mistakes When Talking to Your Boss

Even if you consider all of the recommendations above, the conversation can be ruined if you make at least one of the mistakes presented next.

How not to make the top mistakes when talking to your boss:

1. Don’t be categorical. You don’t talk to your supervisor in a tone of voice: you need to do this and not that. The supervisor is given information or suggestions, not taught about life.

2. Don’t be overly emotional. The fact is that the moment you turn on emotions, for which the right hemisphere is responsible, the left hemisphere, which controls logic, slows down. If you are too emotional, it is perceived as an inability to think logically, a lack of argument, evidence, etc., or a lack of reasoning skill. To control your emotions during a conversation, visit the training of communication skills – the benefits of this will be much broader than the ability to correctly communicate with the boss.

Don’t shift the responsibility for the decision to the manager. You shouldn’t ask “what should I do”. If in doubt about the right decision, it is better to ask for advice.

4. There is no need to be annoying. You shouldn’t constantly ask your supervisor “do I understand correctly…” or “what’s the best way to do…”. No supervisor will consider such a subordinate to be independent. But if we are talking about the immediate supervisor, then you should not avoid communication with him. It is better if you occasionally mark your presence. For example, report on significant results of work.

5. Do not remain silent about the mistakes. Everything sooner or later will become obvious, if not already known. Managers often know much more than their subordinates may think. If you have made a mistake, do not hide it.

6. You should not offer your friendship. You should not take an interest in your family or offer to help in non-work matters. This could result in a negative impact on the job. If something goes wrong in a “friendship,” the working relationship will suffer very seriously.

7. Don’t show inappropriate humility. If the boss takes out his anger on you, you are largely to blame. This is the way to deal with those who allow it. After all, the boss is human, too. Never let it get personal. You can interrupt your boss and tell him that you admit your guilt, but that doesn’t give him the right to insult you. You can do something sneakier: You can divert your attention to something else, distract your boss. The main thing is not to allow him to continue to communicate with you in such a manner.

8. Do not talk about a pay raise without arguments. If it seems to you that your salary is too low, it is not an argument. Raising your salary involves changing previous agreements between you and your employer, and that has a negative context. But if there is a reason – for example, if you have an accomplishment that is profitable for the company, or a series of such accomplishments – it is worth linking the desired raise to it. You can learn how best to present your expectation in communication skills training. Such trainings would most likely eliminate the need for you to study all the tips presented in this material, because you would already have the “recipe” for success.

How to Manage Your Boss

It is not only possible to negotiate favorable conditions for you with the head, the head can be influenced. To do this you have to learn to anticipate the actions of your boss. At the very least, the author of How to Manage Your Boss, Gonzago Dufort, former head of Philip Morris Latin America, is confident of success. In his book, he offered us a classification of bosses along with an “action guide” for each option. Here are just a few.

The “Hum” type of boss . An obnoxious type who likes to put his subordinates to sleep swearing. Not everyone is able to work with such, but in addition to destructive swearing you can discern important professional skills. Working with such a person, you need to learn to let the first past you, and look out for the second. How to behave with such a person? Do not agree to everything, do not try to help the boss in his tasks, keep calm, ask clarifying questions. You want a promotion – hint about competition (another company is interested in you).

Type of boss “Theorist” . Likes to refer to the greats, loves routines and cataloging. Loses in crisis situations. Working with such a boss means not being late, following rules and order, actively providing tables, reports and summaries. If you want a promotion, give your boss more charts and reports.

Read more about how to get along with and even benefit from different types of bosses in the book. Keep an eye on our blog as well, we will continue to publish on this topic. Want to hear about the continuing publication on Gonzago Dufort’s classification of bosses, sign up for the newsletter on this page below.

How to communicate with your boss to be on top of things


Boss is not a title, nor is it a separate “caste.”

It is a status belonging to the common man.

Four key rules of communication with the boss are based on this axiom.

Your comfort in the workplace and job satisfaction depend on your relationship with your boss.

Although it is socially accepted to “gloss over” grievances and avoid being seen by your boss, it is the wrong approach that leads to conflicts.

Don’t give in to emotions in the workplace

Outbursts of anger – an appropriate reaction to an aggressive attitude, a reprimand or an unfair remark. But rage interferes with adequate thinking.

Giving it, it is difficult to realize the true reason for the behavior of the head.

Moreover, rage, as a rule, is not justified.

People are often angry just because someone commands them.

The important thing in this situation is:

  • Remain calm, such as by controlling your breathing and focusing on the number of breaths and exhalations.
  • Perform an impartial analysis of the situation: maybe the superior is really right

By taking control of your thoughts, you will make a healthy assessment of the fairness of the remarks made by the boss and react appropriately.

When the boss is right, a healthy reaction is to admit guilt, ask how to fix it (if you do not see any options) or suggest ways out of the situation.

But not in public, but in the office. And not by shouting, but by calmly operating with facts.

So you emphasize respect for the status of the boss and encourage him to make the right decision.

But shouting or objecting in public will not do the job. They will force the boss to defend himself, rejecting, including reasonable arguments.

He will have to constantly prove his subordinates right, even if they are wrong.

Do not keep silent about the problem in front of the boss

High status = great responsibility.

Management is responsible not only for their own actions, but also for the mistakes of their subordinates. Therefore, if you see that you do not have time to complete the task or it is not set correctly, do not hesitate to report it.

After receiving a warning about a possible problem, the boss will try to prevent its occurrence. If you keep quiet until the last moment, everyone will lose.

However, there is a nuance: it is better to report in person – on the phone or in the office. Especially if the task is set incorrectly.

Do not try to discuss the mistakes of management in front of strangers – it’s a blow to the status. And in your own way as well.

Keep your distance with the director.

Even if you and your boss are friends, don’t take it to work.

He’s the boss there, and you’re the executive subordinate.

This framework should not be violated – a flippant attitude will hurt both of them.

  • You, because the staff will label you “favorite. Colleagues will stop treating a friend of the chief, as an equal. And that – gossip, conflicts and unwillingness to take seriously your achievements.
  • Chief, on the other hand, the flip-flop relationship in the workplace threatens to lose status. Subordinates should be equal among themselves. Then they sensibly perceive criticism and praise, not doubting the objectivity of the head.

Stand up for your own interests.

Is your boss trying to load you with additional amounts of tasks?

If you are willing and able to fulfill them, discuss compensation for overtime work. It is not worth working for “thanks”.

When there is no possibility to do overtime, personally inform about it, explaining the reason for refusal.

But remember: unreasonable refusals are also memorable. The chief will remember them and retaliate by turning a typo or two-minute delay into a reprimand. Or will not let you go from work at the right time.

The reasons for this behavior – the status, which entails responsibility. If employees unreasonably refuse to work overtime and thus frustrate terms – the first to suffer supervisor.

After all, he also has a supervisor who asks for his subordinates.

Also, the successful communication with the leadership contributes to the knowledge that the boss does not always know how to communicate with their subordinates.

Isn’t that a reason to seize the initiative, earn a good attitude and help the person get oriented?

And at the same time get a bonus for initiative!

Career consultant, headhunter, business coach. Certified business coach: burnout prevention, working with conflict situations at work

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