How to Speak to Your Boss About a Workplace Struggle

We all dream of a life in which we never run into conflicts with co-workers, our work engages us and provides a sense of accomplishment, and we get the “downtime” we need to perform at our best.  But if you’re like most professionals, it takes hard work to move your reality closer to this ideal.

Co-worker conflicts, work-life imbalance, and similar workplace struggles are common – but there is help.  The first step is to speak to your boss about the problem.  Here’s how to address these problems professionally, so you maximize your chance of getting the support you need:

  1. “A co-worker and I are having a conflict.” Conflict at work can drain your ability to get things done and turn you off work altogether. When a conflict comes up that you and the other person can’t seem to resolve on your own, talk to your supervisor.  When you do, focus on the issue: “Co-worker continues to leave before the workspace is fully cleaned.  S/he says our work is over when the widgets are packaged.  How would you like it done?”  If needed, ask your supervisor for help speaking to the team about the right way to do things.
  2. “This task is overwhelming. Where do I start?” Stress is the brain’s response to a situation in which the size of the task is larger than the size of your pool of resources (time, knowledge, energy, etc.) to tackle the task.  When you’re asked to do a task you don’t understand or that seems overwhelming, stress is the natural result.  Cut down on stress by first asking yourself, “Where is this task ‘too big’ for my resources?  What do I need in order to do it?”  Then, frame your question to your boss around the resources you need.  For instance, “I know you asked me to finish the Perkins file but I don’t think I can get it done before 5 p.m.; can I have more time?”  Or, “I haven’t actually packaged the widgets; can you spare someone to show me the ropes?”
  3. “I’m not getting nearly enough time to recharge.” Work-life balance is essential to supporting your productivity and reducing your stress. If stress is a response to a big task, then “downtime” away from work is the resource that refills your energy and focus resources.  Framing this question in “business” terms can help you proceed.  “I know we’re trying to finish this project, but I’m not getting the time I need to rest, and my error rate is going up.  Can we find a bit more time for me to recharge?”

Have you tried to bring up problems at work, only to find yourself unable to communicate effectively with your boss?  At Marquee Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help you find a SoCal workplace in which you “fit,” so your communication doesn’t go unheeded.  Contact us today to learn more about our job opportunities in Orange County and beyond.