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6 Tips for Communicating Effectively With Your Boss

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

by Regi Publico

Image: Courtesy of Tima Miroshnichenko; from

Communication is a crucial soft skill for any professional. At the same time, it’s essential to know how to talk with your immediate superior and work with them. Harmony within the team, especially with your boss, can make your entire workflow more effortless.

Whether it’s in the office or by using a secure communication platform, knowing how to communicate with your boss effectively can help give you the edge you need. Here are 6 tips to provide you with a better time connecting with management.

1. Stay On The Same Page

Many communication problems stem from poor connections between leaders and team members. It’s imperative to understand how your boss thinks and communicates. You want to be on the same page as they are, especially when talking about leadership techniques.

For instance, does your boss like to structure their work on an outline? Or do they like just to dive in and do what needs to be done? Knowing this can help give you an idea of how your boss works. If you’re looking to pursue peak performance, being in sync with your boss can maximize how your team works.

Talk to your boss and outline what they expect from the team. Most leaders will tell the team what they want and how they want things done. Barring any toxic workplace issues, it’s best to work with your boss’ current vision.

2. Understand Their Goals

Whether your boss is from the company, outside of it, or you’re freelancing, you’ll need to understand the goals they have set for the team. Do they want you to finish the project in a certain amount of time? Do they want you to meet a certain goal? Or do they want you to focus on a specific aspect of the job?

Understanding what your boss is looking for can help you create a better relationship with them and increase your ability to get things done. While this requires being on the same page, it works the same even if you have a contentious relationship with upper management.

Regardless of the true nature of your corporate relationship, knowing your boss’ goals can help you better communicate with them. Knowing how your boss views their job can help you decide what kind of information you need to provide to them.

3. Find A Common Ground

Not every boss and employee will get along; that’s a matter of fact that we need to accept. This can be due to various reasons, whether it’s from personality differences, politics, or something else entirely. Don’t let this get in the way of your professional communication.

You’re there to do work, and the last thing you want is having hostilities affect your productivity. Even if there’s a clear divide between you and your boss, you can still find common ground.

Finding common ground can be simple but not always easy. For instance, maybe your boss wants the team to focus on a specific project first while you just want to finish the project in the most efficient way possible. If you and your boss share a similar work style, communication will be much easier.

4. Be A Problem Solver

When communicating with your boss, it’s essential to think of how you can help them. Instead of just providing answers or direction, come up with ideas for improving the company. This goes back to approaching your work as a problem.

Being an active problem solver can give you credibility with your boss. It will help you determine what areas you can assist your boss and what kind of help you can offer. If you want to take the lead while following your boss, you must be at least five moves ahead.

On the other hand, if you’re just providing answers or direction, your boss may think you can’t think for yourself. Take the time to sit down with your boss and have a dialogue about how you can help them. Try to solve as many problems as you can independently and make sure your boss knows how you did it.

5. Be Straightforward

Being straightforward with your boss is crucial. If your boss asks you to do something, it’s best to let them know where you stand right away. This will help cut both sides some slack and get things done more efficiently, rather than haphazardly.

Now, being straightforward is a tricky thing. It’s often easy to sugarcoat your words, especially when you dislike your boss. But, being candid about your work and your boss's expectations will build trust, which will lead to better communication.

When you sugarcoat your requests, it’s easier for your boss to ignore them or even lie to you. It puts you in a position of having to defend yourself, and that’s not productive. At the same time, if you’re straightforward about your needs, your boss will understand.

6. Avoid Being Emotional With Your Boss

While being honest is important, it’s critical to avoid being emotional. Emotions can cloud your overall message, leading to miscommunication and misunderstanding. Emotions can get in the way of your decision-making, especially if there’s an emotional component to your work.

Not everyone gets along, and that’s okay. But, being emotional with your boss can do more harm than good. Being emotional can hinder your ability to get things done instead of just explaining the situation and showing your boss you’re willing to do the work.

For instance, if you’re working on a project, and your boss is giving you a hard time, it’s easy to react emotionally. You may feel defensive, leading to you saying things you’ll regret.

Instead, take a step back, take a deep breath, and calmly explain the situation. Be direct with your boss about your feelings, but avoid being emotional. Explain why you feel that way, but be as objective as possible.

Final Thoughts

We can get so caught up in our own work that we overlook the importance of effective communication with upper management. Without proper communication, teams will be unable to complete projects efficiently and in a timely manner.

Connecting with your boss is a vital part of your professional growth. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to bettering your relationship with your superiors. With better communication, not only will your workflow improve, but your boss will too.

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