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Complain To Your Boss

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 20 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
Boss Manager Career Management

Complaining about a boss is popular but doesn’t solve the problem – if you have an issue with your boss then learn how to complain effectively and face them head on.

Effective Complaining

Disgruntlement about a boss or supervisor is a common work complaint. According to recent research, almost half of all employees believe their immediate superior to be a poor decision maker. But if we not content to sit back and suffer their bad management then how can we complain to our boss effectively, and not make the problem worse?

Is It Worth Complaining?

The first thing to ask your self is whether it will really do any good to complain. If the complaint is a means to air annoyance or displeasure rather to prompt positive change, then it is probably wise to hold off. It is all too easy for a complainant ruled by emotions rather their head to be branded a whinger, and not be taken seriously.

Also consider your boss’ perspective – is your complaint significant to them, the ‘big picture’ and the inner workings of their team or is it simply a personal gripe?

What Do You Want To Be Done?

Management often complain of being overworked and stressed and so don’t expect much joy if you dump more problems in their lap. Instead of simply complaining about something and expecting immediate action, it is more constructive to present your problem with a potential solution.

Be Tactful And Positive

The more progressive bosses see constructive complaints as a key component in a successful workplace, but many others don’t. Some can get very defensive about employee complaints, seeing them as attempts to undermine their authority and abilities. These people need to be treated with particular care.

For a complaint to have a positive impact it should be carefully worded to sound like you are working with the boss rather than against them. The complaint should sound more like a bid to improve working life for the whole team than a hostile attempt to undermine a boss’ authority. Ultimately a complaint that leads to positive change is in the best interests of the boss, as they will benefit the most from a good team performance.

When speaking with your boss your attitude should be wholly positive – this shouldn’t be howl of despair about how the company is going down the drain but a sales pitch for a constructive idea. You might think their management is veering on disastrous, but you should try to preserve their ego and pride by restraining your criticism and negativity.

Try to build on their idea rather than attack it. Also attempt to depersonalise your talk so that you are not talking in an “I am right and you are wrong” manner.

The Right Time And Place

The right time and place is important to the success of a complaint and should be chosen very carefully.

It should always be face to face; telephone and especially email, are cowardly and half-hearted methods of getting your feelings across. They are also easier to ignore. You should not attempt to raise the issue in front of other employees or in a potential conflict environment, but instead ask for a private meeting in their office.

Time is also an important consideration. You should choose a quieter moment when their mind is not beset by other more pressing concerns. First thing in the morning is often the best time. It is also vital to raise the issue as soon as possible, as the greater the time elapsed the harder it will likely be to rectify the problem.

Wait For The Emotion To Subside

Nevertheless don’t be so hasty in airing your complaint in that you haven’t had time to think over it first and allow any heated emotion to subside.

If the work issue has upset or angered you then try to calm down before approaching your boss. For a complaint to be communicated clearly and effectively, it should be broached in a cool, businesslike manner rather than a fit of rage.

Ultimately, if you feel an issue warrants a complaint then you should confront it, however tough it might seem. Being able to deal with a problem confidently and professionally will demonstrate strong skills to your manager and colleagues and work to your advantage in the workplace, and with your salary and career expectations.

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