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  • Writer's pictureMarleen Greenleaf

How to Communicate Effectively with Your Manager

Have you ever been working peacefully at your desk when suddenly your manager showed up to discuss an office concern? Before you knew it, your manager was walking away, leaving sparks in the air and frustration in his wake. What happened?

Most likely, it was a communication problem. Learning how to communicate effectively with your manager will not only enable you to keep your job, but also advance your career.

It’s not always what you know that determines how far you can progress in a job. Very often your employment success is based upon how well you get along with other people in the office, especially your boss.

It’s quite possible that the lack of communication might not be entirely your fault. Perhaps your manager needs to brush up on their communication skills, too.

However, doing whatever you can to communicate better will help you get your point across more effectively and make you an indispensable member of the team.

These ideas may prove beneficial in communicating effectively with your boss:

1. Trust. Is a lack of trust between you and your manager part of the problem?

  • Build trust by working hard to do your job right the first time.

  • Speak with them in a pleasant manner, and always speak well of them.

  • Even when you disagree with your manager, try to do so without being defensive.

2. Criticism. If your manager feels you’re not pulling your weight on a project, don’t let them walk all over you.

  • Be respectful as you stand up for yourself.

  • Don’t allow disagreements to turn into shouting matches or arguments.

  • Realize they’re trying to do their job just as much as you’re trying to do yours.

  • Instead of taking their criticism personally, listen to what they’re saying and respond effectively.

3. Personality Clash. Even if the two of you simply can’t get along personally, that doesn’t mean all is lost.

  • Start at a point of respect for the position and communicate professionally and effectively, leaving personal issues behind.

4. Simple Miscommunications. Is it possible there’s merely miscommunication between the two of you? Maybe you haven’t fully understood what your manager was trying to tell you or your manager completely missed what you were trying to say.

  • If you both put forth the effort to try to understand each other, the communication between the two of you can only improve.

5. Nonverbal Signals. An important part of your message in communicating is not what you say, but how you say it – the intensity, inflection, and tone of voice. Your body language also conveys what’s being said as much as the words.

  • If your arms are crossed over your chest when speaking, it shows that your mind is made up and there’s no changing it.

  • Establish and maintain eye contact to signal that you’re interested in their opinion.

  • Work on keeping an even tone of voice and staying in a neutral position while you’re talking with your manager.

Using your nonverbal signals correctly could transform your relationship with your manager from being confrontational into a great working relationship!

Small improvements in how you speak and act toward your manager could make a big difference in the way the two of you get along. Practice these ideas to more effectively communicate with your manager, improve your working relationship, and enjoy greater success at work!

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