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.

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