Reporting Workplace Problems To Your Boss: A Simple Guide
If you visit any online advice forum, you will see a persistent pattern amongst posters who are experiencing issues at work: tell your boss.
Whatever a person is experiencing, whether it’s harassment or ongoing disagreements with a colleague, the advice remains the same: inform someone in the organization of the issue.
Admittedly, the above is good advice: no one should have to just “put up” with an unpleasant working environment, and informing your superiors is always the right choice. However, the advice is rather simplistic, and every time someone is advised to “tell their boss”, the immediate response is… but how?
Why is telling your boss such a problematic issue?
If your working environment is unpleasant due to the actions of others, then informing your boss of the situation is definitely the right course of action – but it’s also incredibly tough to contemplate.
There are a number of reasons for this discomfort; in some cases, it’s the old fear of “snitching” on another person; sometimes, people don’t feel that their complaint will be heard, especially if they are being harassed by an individual who is popular with management. In cases of sexual harassment, feelings of embarrassment, fear of not being believed, or fear over the potential consequences of coming forward can make informing a superior of the issue feel almost impossible.
How can these issues be overcome?
It’s important to note that there is no “right” way to tell your boss that you are experiencing issues in the workplace; you simply have to choose the route that suits you. Here are a few techniques to consider:
Anonymous complaints often cannot be as thoroughly investigated as a standard complaint, but it is an option if you want to raise awareness with your boss and ensure they keep an eye on the individual in question in future.
Many people find that it is easy to write down their experiences rather than discuss the matter in person; if you feel the same, then you can simply send your boss a letter or email outlining the situation, and wait for their response.
If you are comfortable discussing the matter in person, then it’s usually best to arrange a specific appointment to address the issue with your boss at a specified time rather than raising it during the standard working day. Simply ask your boss to schedule you in for a “review”, or say you have a few questions you need to ask privately, and then use the allotted time to broach the workplace issues you are experiencing.
Even when you have settled on a technique for informing your boss that you are comfortable with, you may still hesitate – which is entirely natural. It’s therefore essential to give yourself time to go through the reporting process as you see fit; there’s no rush, no deadline, no nothing.
Until you feel ready, remind yourself that harassment of any nature is never acceptable in the workplace, and that there is absolutely no need for you to feel guilty, embarrassed, or any other negative emotion: you have a right to a safe working environment, so take your time, and then approach your boss as and when it suits you.
© New To HR