There will come a time when all legal professionals must talk with a boss or superior. Some will handle the moment beautifully, while others may stumble due to fears, nerves, lack of experience, or some other related issue. If you must speak with a boss, don’t fret it. There are certain tips to follow to ensure you are professional, courteous and effective when doing so. These apply to all types of legal professionals – from attorneys to paralegals to administrators to legal support staff.
Superiors tend to like regularity when it comes to office matters. This means it is wise to avoid surprises when talking to a boss. Don’t throw things in a superior’s lap. Similarly, don’t wait to talk about a problem until it has significantly increased in scale. If there is a problem, address it in its early stages so that simple resolutions can be made.
Don’t Create New Problems
Work difficulties and problems will always arise that require the attention of a supervisor. If they do, don’t make matters worse. Think about the problem before speaking with a boss and think of some ways to solve it.
When you actually talk with your supervisor, make sure you:
- Find the right time to discuss the problem (see below);
- Calmly describe the situation;
- Explain some possible solutions; and,
- Ask for advice on how to handle matters.
As to this last point, supervisors typically do not want to solve problems for their employees. Rather, they like to be asked for help. And, they like to provide guidance that will help educate employees and make them better at their job.
Schedule a Meeting
It is never a good idea to just barge into a boss’s office and demand time to talk. Superiors are usually busy with work tasks and most frown upon being immediately interrupted. This means it is always a great idea to schedule a meeting when you need to speak with a supervisor.
When scheduling, there are some important things to keep in mind. These are:
- Try to schedule a sufficient amount of time to talk that allows for appropriate resolution of an issue;
- Email the supervisor rather than running right into his or her office;
- Try to schedule via Outlook or Google; and,
- Keep scheduling requests simple.
Try to Find the Right Time
Timing is a huge consideration when talking with a boss. It may be difficult to find that “perfect time” to meet with him. But it is usually pretty easy to avoid the bad times. Prior to meeting with a supervisor, try to ensure that he/she:
- Has the time to speak;
- Is in a relatively good mood; and,
- Is not scheduled for a meeting, appointment, or telephone call.
Be Professional During the Meeting
When you do speak with your boss, remember that the person you’re speaking with is your supervisor. This means do be courteous and professional in your demeanor, words spoken, posture, and topics discussed. Some things never to do include:
- Throwing a co-worker under the bus;
- Using foul language;
- Speaking bad about the firm, legal department, or company; and,
If you have to meet with a boss or supervisor, don’t worry about a thing. Simply follow the above tips and all should go smoothly. Also, remember that your superior is human too; and, he/she was probably in your situation at an earlier point in his/her career. If you still have questions or concerns, simply contact us now. We’re always here to help and we take great pride in making sure our candidates are calm, productive, and successful.