Tackle Tricky Talks In The Office

No matter how confident you are, having to raise a sensitive subject with your boss could make you break out in a sweat. Some conversations are just plain awkward – unfortunately they’re often the most important ones.

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So how do you raise a difficult subject and, more importantly, how do you make sure the conversation works out in your favour? We show you how…

1. How to tell your boss you’re pregnant

You’re expecting and can’t wait to tell the world… but the thought of telling your manager is bringing you out in hives. Luckily, the law is there to protect you and your job and, while your boss might not be as overjoyed, all they can do is offer their congratulations, then refer to the company’s maternity policy. You’ll need to give four weeks’ written notice before you want to take leave, but it’s best to tell them sooner rather than later as you can start talking about a plan for your leave. ‘Consider the implications of your leave on the business and come up with solutions,’ suggests family counsellor Miranda Soane. ‘If you’re hiring a replacement, get involved in the hiring process. It shows you still care about your job and will reassure your boss of your loyalty.’

2. How to beat a bully

Does the office bully make comments about your work or mock you in front of your colleagues? You need to nip it in the bud. First, try having a quiet word with the culprit. If they respond negatively or continue to dump on you, speak to your manager. Write down the instances of bullying in detail – it’s a useful record if the company wants to pursue disciplinary action – and try not to let your emotions blur any facts. If it’s your boss doing the bullying, speak to HR. Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. Think about what you’d tell your child if they were being bullied at school, then take your own advice. After all, you’re usually right!

3. How to ask your boss for an increase

We all want a little extra cash, but how many of us are brave enough to ask? Women tend to earn less than men, but over half of us have never asked for more money. Well, it’s time to make your case. If you can prove you’ve gone over and above your basic job description, your boss is more likely to be swayed. ‘Have you gained a recent qualification or received compliments from senior management that could support your request?’ asks recruitment specialist Lee Biggins. When it comes to the actual money in question, go in with a slightly higher figure so there’s some wiggle room for negotiation.


Try these tips to stay calmer while speaking up:

* Plan what you want to say, keeping the end-goal of the conversation in mind.

* Have a short list of points you want to raise to help you stay focused.

* Be prepared to listen to, and acknowledge, the other person’s perspective.

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