How to tell your boss "I quit"
How to Kindly Tell Your Boss That He or She Is Mistaken
When your boss's mistake is going to create a problem for your company, a customer, or another department, it is appropriate for you to speak up. However, telling your boss they're wrong can be tricky. You don't want to damage your relationship and put your job in jeopardy. Make sure to consider the right angle before approaching your boss. Gather any information you need to make your point, and write your thoughts out first. From here, approach your boss respectfully. Starting on a positive note, gently explain your concerns. Together, the two of you can work towards a solution that will benefit your company.
Finding the Best Angle
Decide how important the issue is.Telling your boss they're wrong can have an impact on your relationship. Therefore, you want to make sure the issue is worth discussing before bringing it up. If your boss is wrong over something minor, alerting them to this may come off as condescending.
- How much is the issue really affecting your work life? If you disagree with your boss on something minor, such as policies regarding lunch breaks, it's probably only a minor inconvenience for you and other employers. This may be a difference to simply accept.
- In general, if a concern is impacting the efficiency and performance of you and other employees, it's worth addressing. Individual concerns and pet peeves are generally not a large concern for your boss. Remember, they're focused on what's best for the company and not a single individual.
Focus on the company benefits.When planning what to say, keep the big picture in mind. Think about why your boss's misjudgment adversely impacts the company. When speaking to your boss, this is where you want to place your primary focus.
- Think about how your boss's decisions are impacting fellow employees and overall output and productivity. If other employees have expressed frustration to you, keep these concerns in mind.
- For example, your boss may adhere to an older computer system because they believe it's more efficient. However, the older computers clearly run slower than newer models, and you believe some of the leftover budget money should go towards this purchase. Your boss, however, has decided to put the money elsewhere.
- In this situation, look at some objective facts. You can present your boss with information about why newer models run faster. You can show your boss how much more work will get done in a single day when using newer, faster computers.
Look for any gaps in information.If your boss is incorrect about something, you may know something they do not. In this case, it's perfectly acceptable to fill your boss in on what they may not know. Consider if there are any areas of the company where your boss is less involved.
- For example, your job may be to oversee enrollment for after school programs in your company. Enrollment has skyrocketed this year, and you believe it is necessary to hire a temp for data entry work. Consider whether your boss knows about the spike in enrollment.
- If your boss is involved in other aspects of organizing after school programs, they may not realize the necessity of a temp. You can fill your boss in on how much enrollment has increased, and how much extra data entry will be required.
Think about timing.When you address the issue is important. It's a good idea to let your boss choose the time. This way, your boss can pick a time where they're free. This can also show you still respect your boss's authority, even in times of disagreement.
- Approach your boss and say something like, "I have something I wanted to go over with you. Can you let me know when you have a spare 10 minutes? I'll need your full attention, so I wanted to make sure I caught you when you're free."
- Ask to reschedule if necessary. If your boss seems distracted during your set meeting time, say something like, "Hey, you seem really busy today and I don't want to distract you. I'm fine rescheduling to a time that works better for you."
Write down your thoughts.It can be stressful to confront your boss. You may stumble over your words during the talk, so writing them out ahead of time can help. While you shouldn't read off a paper when talking to your boss, jotting your words down can help you better commit them to memory prior to the talk.
- Write down your major areas of concern, as well as how you want to address them.
- Review your words to make sure you're making yourself clear and behaving in a professional manner. Rewrite as necessary to keep your language professional.
- Review what you wrote down right before the meeting. When the meeting arrives, try to stick to your script.
Raising the Issue
Talk to your boss in private.If you confront your boss in front of a room of people, this is likely to go over poorly. You do not want your boss to feel like you're intentionally embarrassing them. Always choose a private setting to talk over your concerns with your boss, such as your office or your boss's office.
Start off on a positive note.You want the conversation have a positive tone overall. Your boss should see this as an opportunity to improve the company rather than a personal failure. Therefore, begin with something positive.
- Tell your boss something you like about the situation. Note something that's working well for you and the company. No one wants to simply be told what they're doing wrong. Your boss will want to know what they're doing right as well.
- For example, "You're doing an amazing job on the PR work for the after school programs this term. In fact, enrollment has increased by 25%, which is really going to increase profit this term."
Acknowledge you've considered your boss's perspective.From there, you want to let your boss know you've heard their side. This way, you won't come off as ungrateful or argumentative. Acknowledge your boss's opinion in a respectful manner before moving forward.
- Even if you have a more in-depth knowledge of the area than your boss, never start off with something like, "This is my area of expertise, so I think I know what to do here."
- Instead, say something like, "I understand you want to save some money by avoiding temps this term. I think that makes a lot of sense, as putting money towards marketing could increase enrollment even more this term."
Phrase things in terms of suggestions.After acknowledging your boss's perspective, give a suggestion on a different route. Never phrase things in terms of commands, as this can seem disrespectful. Instead, present your boss with a suggestion for how to improve the company.
- Start off with something like, "I think there may be a better way to handle this." As you move forward, focus on the benefits of the company.
- For example, "I think hiring one temp could handle the increase in enrollment. We often end up having secretaries do data entry, but that distracts them from dealing with parents. As we've had such a spike in enrollment, we're dealing with a lot more phone calls. I want to make sure our secretaries are able to leave our customers with a good impression of our company, and I worry data entry will distract them."
Avoid using the word "wrong." You should never tell your boss, "You're wrong about this." You want to make sure your boss knows you still respect them, even though you're disagreeing. If you use the word "wrong" at all, exercise extreme caution.
- For example, you can say something like, "I noticed you had an estimate of how long data entry may take. I appreciate you taking the time to figure that out for us. However, I think this estimate may be incorrect based on how long data entry took on our end last term."
- Remember to say "may be wrong" or "may be incorrect" instead of "is wrong" or "is incorrect."
Finding A Way to Move Forward
Offer a solution.You never want to sound like you're just complaining. You should leave the meeting by offering a logical solution to the problem. You want to come off as helpful rather than negative.
- Remember to phrase your solution as a suggestion. You don't want your boss to think you're telling them what to do.
- For example, "I suggest we hire a single temp. This won't eat up all of the extra money in our budget, so we can still put a chunk towards advertising. I would be happy to take the time to train the temp myself."
Ask if you can try your way for a limited time.You can always ask for a temporary trial run of your proposed solution. This way, your boss can see if your way is more effective without committing to anything longterm.
- Say something respectful when requesting your solution, and be specific.
- For example, "We can try a very short term temp to see if this does increase productivity. Can we hire someone from a staffing agency for, say, two weeks and see how it goes?"
Acknowledge your boss's authority.The key to a productive discussion with your boss is continued respect. Remember that your boss is your boss, and has final authority. Make sure to leave the situation by mentioning this.
- End the conversation by saying something like, "Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. I trust you'll make the right decision here."
Accept your boss's final decision.Remember, your boss may not admit they were wrong. They may not agree with your proposed solution, even if you approach them respectfully. Always accept your boss's decision, and don't push the issue once your boss has made up their mind.
- However, in some cases it's a bad idea to simply accept a decision. If your boss is doing something illegal, for example, you will want to look for another place of work. From there, you can report the illegal activity to the proper outlets.
- Focus on the effect the mistake will have on the business, not on your boss' shortcomings, to show your initiative in trying to follow good business practices.
- If corruption is wide spread in your organization, consider finding another employer where the work practices are consistent with your integrity.
- Do not speak to your boss in a condescending tone. Speak to him/her respectively and choose your words carefully.
Video: How to say "no" to more work from your boss (in a nice way)
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