In this three-part article series we’re looking into how to clarify concerns between employee and manager. First, we discuss why communication can be difficult. Then we describe a way how the employee could explain his or her worries or needs to the supervisor. Finally, we look at how the manager could build up communication with the employee.
Next, we will specify what steps you could take to build up a conversation with the manager, if you are in a situation where you already are in a situation where you have trouble managing your work.
A more astute way to start the talk with ‘I am concerned’. With this you open up to your supervisor in a sort of a dance, where both of you together will start to find out if the problem can be solved, and how.
If at all possible, try to describe your thoughts and feelings in a stable, calm and self-assertive manner. For example, speak of ‘I feel that lately this is too much for me’. Don’t give judgments about your ability to cope.
Directly describe the situation by bringing examples such as, you don’t have enough time to complete the tasks, the assignment is unclear, or you lack something else to complete the job in a timely and successful way.
Bring out how this has influenced you. For example, you are more tired, irritable, not as productive and you see it’s not sustainable.
Describe how you believe the circumstances could be improved. For example, longer deadlines or a chance to discuss the assignment with someone. After that, ask the manager for their opinion.
By building up the conversation in this manner, you enter the negotiations in a position where you don’t judge your abilities or express your inadequacy. Instead, you are describing what is happening to you in a specific situation and what your needs are.
Invite the manager to discuss ways to improve the state of affairs. Here, your supervisor can contribute by thinking along or describing their needs. This is a suitable spot to find satisfactory solutions together.
Overall, keep in mind that suitable advice matching your specific situation should be given by a mental health professional. As luck would have it, communication is a skill that can be improved by training and practice.