How to Get Your Boss to Actually Listen to You

How to Get Your Boss to Actually Listen to You

Bosses don’t know everything. Even the most empathetic leaders need feedback to understand the specific challenges their employees face. Unfortunately, plenty of workers — especially those new to the workforce — don’t feel safe being vocal. When they have ideas to contribute, they hesitate to share them; after all, they don’t want to risk potential repercussions. A VitalSmarts study found that only 1 percent of respondents were willing to break the mold; roughly three out of 10 cited a negative organization as the reason for their silence. Forget the idea of merely bringing issues to the table. Although griping makes sense from time to time — and can even be productive under the right circumstances — it doesn’t solve anything. Rather than whine incessantly, allow yourself a bit of kvetching and then move on to developing a viable result. You can also write a review on Glassdoor to give your feedback anonymously. Although it’s not as productive as having a direct conversation, you’ll still have a say.

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manage-up

Bosses don’t know everything. Even the most empathetic leaders need feedback to understand the specific challenges their employees face. Unfortunately, plenty of workers — especially those new to the workforce — don’t feel safe being vocal. When they have ideas to contribute, they hesitate to share them; after all, they don’t want to risk potential repercussions.

Ultimately, this environment leads to erosion of communication between team members and even entire companies. People assume their suggestions won’t be met by someone who appreciates their feedback, so concerns remain unspoken. At the same time, each unnoted issue can cost businesses $7,500 per incident, on average. Over time, a human disconnect and financial draining system develops, creating a gap that grows larger each year. The only way to bridge the chasm if you’re not a top dog? Speak up.

Not surprisingly, workers seldom take that route. A VitalSmarts study found that only 1 percent of respondents were willing to break the mold; roughly three out of 10 cited a negative organization as the reason for their silence. Anyone who’s seen a colleague punished for being honest knows how quickly open dialogue can shut down; thus, it can be tough to become the turtle willing to stick its neck out.

Ironically, this is exactly the reason you need to take control of the situation and be the one to buck the “silent treatment.” Despite surveys, open-door policies, one-on-one meetings, brainstorming sessions, and other planned events, leaders depend on the voices of proactive, loyal employees — even if they don’t realize it. No company succeeds if its people stop managing up and regularly sharing ideas; talented performers have jumped ship for far less important reasons.

For instance, take a lesson from our company’s business development manager: Like an assertive jet pilot, he consistently keeps himself on my radar. Together, we’ve discussed ways to make our conversations more effective so they focus on productivity. Without his willingness to tell me what I don’t…

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