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4 Tips for Having an Honest Discussion About Job Satisfaction with Your Boss

You feel you’re stuck in a rut. Every day you wake up, it becomes harder and harder to go to work and do your job. Ever wondered why that is the case?

Well, you suffer from something called “lack of job satisfaction” and it actually affects more than half of the working population. No, you aren’t lazy, but your lack of motivation is probably due to less than favorable factors in your workplace. Don’t let yourself be buried in the rut, though; there are ways to crawl out and escape – even if the way to escape is pretty cringe-worthy.

Here are some tips on how to have an honest discussion with your boss about job satisfaction (or lack thereof).

See Also: 6 Bad Habits Your Boss Doesn’t Want to See

1. Assess and Index

Woman looking at post-it notes

“Index” is just a fancy word for making a list (I’m a douchey writer and I oft use douchey words (like “oft”, for example). This doesn’t mean my advice isn’t valid; it just means that it’s a little obnoxious.

If you’re going to ask for something, you better know what it is – especially if you want that undefined abstract “something” to change. Ask yourself what is at the core of your dissatisfaction: do you feel that you are under-implemented, undercompensated, at odds or clashing with the company culture or its policies? The most frequently referenced reason for employee discontent is management and, more specifically, micromanagement. The fourth most popular reason is distrust in leadership, and poor communication ranks at number six.

If you haven’t noticed the pattern developing, most of these items are management-related… so, you will have to be careful how you will predispose these grievances to your boss to not offend and, more importantly, to be constructive. As the childhood saying goes, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t saying anything at all”. The same holds true when expressing your disgruntlement.

2. Book a Meeting

Businessmen in meeting room

No one wants to be stopped in the hallway and read a laundry list of complaints. Also, there’s not much they can do for you if they’re sprinting to a completely different meeting. If you really want to have a constructive discussion that could potentially yield the results you seek, which are being more satisfied and happy with your work, you will have to set up a meeting.

Remember, when expressing your complaints, to make sure that you follow company protocol and hierarchy. Also, let your boss or supervisor know what the meeting is about in a diplomatic and nonabrasive way.  No one wants to be caught off-guard; it will only result in them taking a defensive stance and not even seriously considering your issues.

When you decide to have the meeting, you can even say something like: “I’ve been having some problems motivating myself, do you have a moment to talk about it?” Although honesty is the best policy, that doesn’t mean talking to the boss and saying, “Listen, this place sucks. I have a hard time motivating myself, getting through the day, and not drinking heavily after work… you need to fix this!” You feel frustrated, of course, but I’m pretty sure such a request will probably end with you waiting in line at the unemployment office.

3. Be Candid

Group of workers chatting

If you’re lucky, your boss wants to help, so ask them candidly for help, advice, and their expertise regarding the issues demotivating you. As you know, asking someone for advice because of their experience and expertise is very flattering and generally something most people will happily give someone. Giving advice instead of bending to someone’s demands is a much more diplomatic and effective way to get your grievances across.

4. Keep it Constructive

Business women in meeting
The Huffington Post

No one wants to sit through someone pontificating about the problems that are plaguing their company. Instead, try being constructive with the problems plaguing the company. There is a technique called the Feedback Sandwich method. This method is simple and you basically start with the positives. In your case, it could be fair compensation, good communication, or effective leadership and management. Then you come in with the one-two punch and give them the criticism – again, in a constructive and nonabrasive way – and (this is the important part) tell them how fixing this matter of contention can yield positive results. Finally, reiterate the positives and tell them about how your criticism will yield positive results.

If you follow these steps, you – hopefully – won’t get fired. But even if you are, that might not be a bad thing. I know this seems like an extreme scenario but, sometimes, some things cannot be repaired, amended, or consolidated. The management might be completely hostile towards employee feedback regarding the workings of the company and, ultimately, the things that demotivate you. Just like an unhealthy relationship, there are things that keep you in it (otherwise, you wouldn’t be in it) and, no matter how difficult the decision may be, both parties involved will be happier when they break up.  Well, you’ll be happier; the company probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether or not you leave, and that’s probably the reason you don’t want to work there anymore.

Can you think of any other ways to speak to your boss about something that might be demotivating you at work, or have you ever talked to a manager and had a positive outcome? Let us know in the comments section below. And remember: the comments section isn’t to complain in…

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