Addressing Your Superiors: Speaking With Your Boss When There Are No Set Rules

We’ve all been in a situation requiring us to speak to superiors at one point or another in our lives.  Whether it be speaking to a teacher or leader in school or in a group as a child, or discussing an issue with a higher-ranking superior as adults in the workplace, addressing someone higher than you can be intimidating, nerve-wracking, and sometimes stressful.  These feelings are compounded if your workplace doesn’t give specific guidelines, or even a general idea, of how to go about speaking with your employer or supervisor.

So, what should you do?

The answer to this questions actually has many variables, the first of which is the assessment of the situation.  If you are dealing with an emergency within the workplace (a direct threat to you, your fellow employees, and/or your employer), any type of physical or sexual assault or harassment issue, or a workplace disaster (such as a fire, major leak, etc.) then you likely need to address your boss directly as quickly as possible.  This could mean heading down the hall, or upstairs, and walking right into their office, but oftentimes this is the desired approach by many employers when it comes to emergency or time-sensitive subjects.

For issues that aren’t so dramatic though, there are other approaches you can take.  If the situation would be best documented with a paper trail (like an issue with another employee, or even a complaint with your employer), email is often the best way to go, since you have a physical representation of the conversation and your words (as well as the responses you receive) are kept on record.  Usually you will be given an email address to use for contacting your boss, but if you don’t have one, consider asking someone who has been in the office longer, or requesting an email address from your office receptionist.  He/she will most likely have the information you need.

When a paper trail isn’t important, but you don’t want to bother your boss with an in-person office visit or a string of emails, you could consider a quick call.  Depending on your relationship with your boss, you may have permission to contact their personal number (such as their cell phone), but if not, leaving a message on their office phone should suffice.  Occasionally employers will be available for text messaging as well, and if that’s an option given to you, it’s a wonderful way to ask a quick question, or offer a quick bit of information, whiteout an extensive conversation.

Over time, you will become seasoned in your work environment and will be able to more easily judge when and how you should contact your employer, depending on the circumstances, day of the week, and specific schedule.  We understand that dealing with your boss can be stressful. We also understand that finding a boss can be stressful, and we are ready to help.  PHR Staffing Solutions will work with you to match you with positions that make the most of your skills and qualifications, and set you up for success in a new career.  Give us a call for more information or apply for one of our current openings online!