Ask Your Boss: I Don’t Want to Look Like a Know-It-All Jerk...

“I am a new employee and was hired because of my experience working with so many different companies. I have a lot of good ideas to improve productivity and quality.  How can I give my input to my boss without seeming like a know it all jerk?” It is less tricky than you think, especially because you were hired due to your experience and knowledge. You are, probably, expected to give your input anyway. Just remember that it is all about your attitude, the right choice of words and your tone. A good, friendly attitude combined with the right approach can solve pretty much anything. You can start by saying something like this “I noticed you are doing this…and I was wondering what would you think about this approach instead?” God forbid you say something like “you should do this” to your boss. If you’d come to me and start your sentence with “you should…”, all I would be thinking “and you should go back to your cubicle.” I would not be hearing a single word you said after that. In other words, do not act that you know more than your boss. Do not say “I am an expert and this is what you should do.” Another approach that I can recommend is an assumption approach. Pose a question with a plan. You can throw an idea in a form of an assumption that implies that this idea was either discussed before or at least mentioned. Sometimes a simple question like “Is there a reason why you are not doing this?” helps to start a good discussion. Your tone also matters. As long as you maintain a friendly tone and not a condescending, know-it-all tone, your boss will listen. Make sure to show that you’ve considered the current process or procedure. You know what works well? Positioning your boss and yourself on one side, and a problem, you are tackling, on the another. Use “we” instead of “I” or “you.” In this case, you are in this together. You are a team. Good Luck! Let us know how it all worked out for you. Want to ask Your Boss a question? There is a form on the top of the right sidebar. Fill it in and submit it. I will write a post in response....

Ask Your Boss: How Should I Prepare For an Annual Review?...

“Year end reviews are just around the corner at some workplaces. What does my manager do in the next month to prepare for the review process? What can I do to prepare for the review process? For next year, how can I take the feedback from my coming review and prioritize my improvement efforts?” We don’t do annual reviews at my workplace. We used to do it, but not anymore. I never liked it anyway, so I embraced this change quite enthusiastically. I am one of those who prefer to give feedback as we go, not once a year. Let me give you a few pointers of how I would prepare myself for an annual performance review. Make a list of your responsibilities and grade yourself in each area. Be objective and honest with yourself. What’s the point of lying, right? Make a list of goals that you would like to set up for yourself for the next year. What do you want to achieve in the new year? What would you like to change? Think about it as your career development plan. Make a list of your accomplishments. Match them up with your job description. It always helps. Did you work on any ambitious projects this year? Write them down. Make a list of any conflicts and/or disagreements with your boss that happened in the last year. Be ready to discuss them. However, don’t bring it up yourself. It might never be mentioned, but it is always a good idea to be prepared. Make sure to be as detailed as possible. I, personally, love detailed examples. Make sure to address last year’s feedback you got from your boss. It shows that you are willing to improve. It shows that you care. Are there any problem areas you would like to address? This is the time to do it! Most importantly, take your time to prepare for the annual performance review. I always feel better going into one, knowing that I can address pretty much any question that might arise. By the way, any manager goes through the same process that I listed above for you. this is exactly how I was preparing myself. We make lists of things we want to address. Sometimes we make these lists throughout the year, so that we remember everything that happened. We keep notes. At least, I do. I have a (locked) file drawer where I keep files on every employee. I keep my notes and emails. I am sure most managers do the same....

Ask Your Boss: When a Boss Doesn’t Deal With an Office Bully...

“I am in a unique position. I am an onsite vendor working for a client. The job is going pretty well except for one thing:  One of the members on our small team is very difficult to work with. My client boss has taken me aside and apologized for the way this person has treated me i.e. super passive aggressive nit picky emails. My client boss said she would talk to this person. The rudeness has continued. Now my client boss has said that it is my responsibility to work out the issues with this person. I told her that I felt very uncomfortable due to the vendor/client relationship. She said there was no conflict.  Is my client boss taking the easy way out by having me take the responsibility for the relationship? Personally I think my client boss needs to handle the matter not me.” You are right. It seems to me that your boss is choosing an easy way out because you are a vendor, an outsider, and not her direct subordinate. But of course, I might be wrong with my assumptions. I wonder if it is her management style. Or absence thereof. My guess is she does not like to deal with personnel issues. Let’s be honest, no one likes to deal with problem employees or office bullies. My answer to you is based on two assumptions. Assumption one: she did indeed talk to the employee, and we might never find out what was said between them. No matter what was said, it yielded no results. Could it be that this particular employee is known for passive aggressive behavior? Could it be that everyone is tired of dealing with the bully? Anything is possible. Obviously, the rudeness continues. Assumption two: she never talked to that employee because she is protecting her own people, and you are perceived as an outsider. In any case, it seems to me that you are on your own. I hate rude people in offices. I classify them as bullies. Bullying needs to be dealt with. Therefore, I see three choices so far (please, realize that I am going off the information you gave me.) Choice Number One You take control of the situation, and you confront the bully. Express your thoughts to the bully firmly but tactfully, making sure to mention that you do not appreciate this type of behavior, and you are not going to tolerate it. Explain how he/she makes you feel, and how it affects you. Then, ask how this person sees the situation. Or simply ask why such rudeness is directed towards you. You might be able to work it out. Choice Number Two You can print out all the offensive emails, and go to the boss’s Boss or directly to HR. Tell your story and explain that you are not getting any help. The situation might get resolved. You also might gain another enemy in the face of your boss. Or you might lose your job and a client. Choice Number Three Don’t do anything, and patiently wait until this project is over, and you can move on to another project and another client. I hope one day you will work for a boss who is not afraid to manage and be a boss. Want to ask Your Boss a question? There is a form on the top of the right sidebar. Fill it in and submit it. I will write a post in response....

Ask Your Boss: How To Negotiate a Job Offer...

“I am currently applying for a position at an organization. I’m in the final stages of the interview process and things seem to be going well. While I don’t know for certain that I will get a job offer, I suspect it will happen. My question is what tools you can offer for negotiating the starting salary. In the job listing, there was a range for the salary. My wife says that I should ask for the top of that range, but I don’t want to ask for too much and start off on the wrong foot. So, I’m curious, how should one go about negotiating a higher salary at the start? What sort of information should be referenced and in what order?? I’d appreciate any advice you can lend. THANKS!” Negotiating a salary is scary for some, and easy for others. Most of us choose to forgo negotiating. I, personally, always dreaded this part of job interviews, even though I love to bargain. From a boss’s point of view I have to admit that I am always interested to see if a candidate will bring up a question about money. Right off the bat, I will tell you this: do not discuss money until a job offer is made. Otherwise, I (as a boss) lose respect for you. There are a lot of things that are unclear to me in your question. What kind of organization is it? Some government agencies will not negotiate anything because they have a set of salary ranges. Some corporations can offer and agree to more than they list in a job posting. Some non-profits do not have very good grant financing available and their salary offers are very limited. No matter what it is, it is always worth trying. Below I am going to provide five essential tips that should help you in your salary negotiating. If you would like to follow up with me after reading this post, feel free. You can either email me or submit another form (applies to all my readers, by the way.) Five Things to Know When Negotiating a Job Offer: Know about the company and what it can afford. Estimate it or guess it. In fact, if you still have another interview coming up, I recommend fishing for this information. Subtly. Ask a question “I noticed that there were no personnel cuts in the past few years. What do you attribute this to?” Know your lowest salary range that you can accept and live with it. Calculate your expenses, your income, and include in your estimate your financial goals (future or present.) Then talk to your wife. Know your market value. Do you know what others are making in the same position, working for a different company? Are you worth more because you have successfully completed a mba program? You have to do some research, talk to your friends and/or use Glassdoor.com. Know if this job has been open for a while. If the answer is “yes”, then it gives you more leverage to negotiate. The possible reasons can be as following: they cannot find a qualified candidate, the skills required for the position are unique, or they don’t know what they want (that’s a whole different discussion.) Know that even if you do not get the desired salary, you can still negotiate your vacation time, your work schedule, relocation expenses, overtime and so on. Just lately, I was wrapped up in a salary negotiation...