Speaking up to your manager sometimes doesn’t come naturally to any of us, especially when it’s a situation where they aren’t following through on something they committed to. However, it’s crucial to do if you want to keep your career on track. Sometimes we don’t speak up because we are afraid of the response. However, expressing your opinions or sharing your ideas is essential in a professional setting because managers aren’t mind readers.
As professionals who want to keep the peace, put our heads down, and grind, it might be hard to take that step and speak up, but it’s necessary. If you don’t, it can negatively affect your career.
- Your Performance Can Suffer – When your voice isn’t heard, or you don’t step up as your own advocate, your performance at work will suffer.
For example, if you’ve asked your manager to provide feedback on a project and they don’t, how do you know the extent of how it turned out? You can’t get better if you don’t receive the proper feedback. This is where you are hampering your development if you don’t speak up and hold your manager accountable for helping you grow.
- Your Influence & Brand Can Deteriorate – Think of someone who speaks up respectfully at work. A strong voice at work is someone who creates their own narrative and strengthens their influence. Those who are consistent at speaking up usually get the opportunity to lead a meeting or head a project because they are willing to put themselves out there. Now consider the personal brand you’ve created for yourself throughout your career. Are you the person who always comes through in the clutch to hit their end-of-the-month numbers or the team player anyone would feel comfortable approaching? Once you speak up, your brand takes shape and is more recognizable. But this is only if you’re deliberate about what you communicate in front of others.
- Respect From Others May Dwindle – When you become the one with a voice, others who might not feel as comfortable speaking up will look to you admirably. Your actions command respect but also demand responsibility. Don’t just spew ideas or thoughts out into the universe. Remain strategic in how you use your voice. On the flip side, if you keep quiet, you will have to lean on others to help you express yourself at work.
So, what do you do when it’s time to make your voice heard? Here are 4 tips.
- Choose the Appropriate Timing – When work comes down to crunch time, whether that’s the end of the month, quarter, or year, it’s probably not the best idea to bombard your manager and voice your opinion on something that will take some time to work through. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to schedule a meeting on your manager’s calendar to ensure you get the desired amount of time.
- Know Why You’re Doing It – Ask yourself the why and what. Why are you speaking up now? What are your expectations? Why does it matter? What exactly is it that you’re going to share? Go in with a plan and purpose.
- Deliver Your Message Accordingly – If it’s a small discussion that needs to be had or a minor suggestion that you want to share, a quick pass-by in the hallway or via Skype might suffice. But if you’re going to have a conversation about your career goals or advancement in the organization, those exchanges are probably best done one-on-one and without distraction.
- Be Prepared for Pushback – The conversation might not always go as planned. You could’ve envisioned walking into your manager’s office and their response being an immediate promotion, but if that’s not the case, don’t get defensive. Instead, consider it an open opportunity to further clarify your thought process or what you are recommending.
You have a voice, so it’s important to use it when appropriate and when you’re prepared. You don’t want to feel like 40% of professionals who estimate they wasted over 2 weeks pondering a problem they stayed silent on. So find your voice and join the conversation on LinkedIn. Also, check out 5 Ways to Acquire More Skills.