Learn the Right Way to Ask Your Boss for Help

You've run into a problem, one you require your boss’s input to fix. However, this isn't as simple as strolling into their office and asking for help.

Asking for your boss’s help can sometimes open a Pandora’s box of potential issues. Your request can have a ripple effect, impacting not only your team, but other parts of the company as well. As such, you’ll want to handle your request with tact and careful planning.

Here are some steps to take when asking your boss for assistance:

Choose Your Approach Carefully

It’s best to present your request in person or via email. Unless your problem has a very simple fix, it’s recommended to avoid texting.

Remember that your boss has a very busy schedule. Communicating via email allows them to review the situation at their convenience. It’s best to keep emails as clear and concise as possible; an overly detailed email can easily fall into TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) territory.

Depending on the situation, an in-person approach may be best. You will likely be more convincing when talking face to face, and it allows you to ensure the situation is understood by all parties. However, if you go the in-person route, it’s preferable to schedule an appointment rather than ambush your supervisor with a request.

Understand the Broader Situation

Before presenting a problem to your boss, consider the big picture. How does your situation fit into other concerns your boss might have? What political complications do you face? Will other co-workers be affected?

Make every attempt to come up with at least one potential solution on your own. You can then present both the problem and a possible solution, and get your boss’s input from there. Even if your proposed solution requires your supervisor’s input, having a specific suggestion in mind will help speed the process.

Be prepared to wait for your answer. Simply presenting your problem in person doesn’t mean your boss will be able to provide you with an immediate solution. You may need to be patient. While the issue may be a priority for you, it might rank a few notches lower on your boss’s to-do list.

Gather Facts and Craft an Argument

Don't start a conversation with your boss without proper background information. By researching your situation, you ensure your boss won’t blindside you with an unexpected question or catch you off guard with a piece of information you don’t (but should) know. You’ll want to be as prepared as possible to hold a substantive conversation during your first meeting.

Envision the Potential Fallout

Whatever your boss’s decision, there may be ripple effects you'll both have to face. Your problem might represent a larger issue within the team or company. Other parts of the organization, such as human resources or finance, might need to be looped into the process. It’s possible your boss may have to go further up the hierarchy to resolve the situation. Always remember that it might take more time, and more effort, than you originally envisioned.

Reaching out to higher-ups is less intimidating when you’re part of a good organization. A strong recruiter, such as United Personnel, can help place you in an environment where you feel comfortable — and thus are able to excel in your performance.

Contact United Personnel today to find out more.