How to Tell Your Manager that You’re Not Happy

You’ve got a problem at work, and it’s taking a toll.  Because of this problem, you no longer enjoy your job.  You’ve decided that you want to bring your concerns to your manager.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for that meeting:

Ask yourself if it’s worth it.  Is it possible that you are putting too much emphasis on this problem?  When we are in the middle of a situation, it can be easy to lose perspective.  What will you do if you can’t solve the problem?  Will you quit your job?  Once you escalate a problem to your manager, there is no turning back; make sure that it’s worth it.

Have a clear understanding of what’s bothering you.  When you approach your manager, you need to be able to clearly outline the problem.  Don’t be general or vague.  Prepare detailed examples that support your concerns.

Take steps to solve the problem.  What have you done to address the issue?  Your manager will want to see that you are a problem solver, and not just a complainer.  What is your ideal outcome?  Take ownership of the problem by having a solution in mind.

Be professional and factual.  When you are upset, it can be difficult to keep your emotions in check.  However, when you are discussing a problem with your manager, it is better if you communicate in a way that is professional and factual.  This will help you maintain your credibility and ensure that your manager takes your concerns seriously.

Take any steps that your manager suggests.  Your manager may offer you some suggestions to help solve your problem.  Make sure that you act on these suggestions.  Remember that your manager has lots of experience, and also has access to information that you don’t.  Also, by acting on your manager’s suggestions, you demonstrate that you are making a real effort to improve the situation.

It’s never easy to tell your manager that you aren’t happy.  There is always the fear that they will decide that you are too much trouble and let you go.  However, it is also not a good idea to let problems fester until they become unsolvable.  Remember that your job satisfaction is important, and as long as you are being reasonable and professional, most managers will listen to your concerns and try to solve the problem.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand)

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