Have you ever had a job where you were required to use a certain piece of software, but you knew about at least one alternative that was better? If you held back that information and didn’t tell your boss, you’re not alone. The majority of people don’t bother making suggestions to higher ups.
Not making suggestions sounds like the safest way to exist in a company, but it’s also detrimental to the team. While there are managers and business owners who aren’t open to suggestions, many are. By withholding suggestions, you’re depriving your team of the potential to increase efficiency and overall success.
Not yet convinced that you should share your suggestions with your boss? The following reasons might change your mind.
- Your boss will respect you for speaking up
Business owners and managers know employees don’t usually speak their mind, and good bosses will respect employees who have “the guts” to speak up. Even if your idea has been tried before and failed, or isn’t a good fit for the company, your boss will probably still appreciate your willingness to share.
- If your suggestion works, you’ll be praised
If your boss tries your suggestion and it works, you’ll probably be praised for making the suggestion. While seeking praise isn’t the best reason for sharing a suggestion, it’s definitely a bonus. Remote workers don’t generally spend time around their bosses, which creates fewer opportunities for praise to arise on a daily basis. If you can help the company you work for, getting praised by your boss will make you feel really good.
For example, say you’re working for a managed service provider like a web hosting company and you’re required to use six different pieces of software to manage clients. If you know about consolidated software like Syncro MSP, don’t hold back. Your boss may not realize it’s possible to run the business with one piece of software, and doing so can help the business generate more money.
- It’s great practice for negotiating in general
Negotiating isn’t easy; some people flat out refuse to negotiate for any reason. However, with practice, negotiating can really get you amazing results in life. Why not start practicing by making simple suggestions to your boss when the time is right?
- You’ll get used to rejection
You’ll feel great if your boss accepts your suggestion, but what if they don’t? What if your suggestion is rejected or even criticized? This potential scenario is a great way to get used to rejection and criticism.
It sounds futile at first. Why bother making a suggestion If you think it will be rejected? However, getting used to rejection and criticism from your boss could save you in a later situation where it really counts. For instance, you might not be attached to the ideas you present to your boss now, but in the future, when an idea means a lot to you, you need to be able to handle rejection with grace.
Strategies for pitching an idea to your boss
Now that you know the benefits of making suggestions to your boss, here are some strategies for actually pitching your ideas.
- Ask, don’t tell
When pitching an idea to your boss, ask for their guidance rather than telling them everything they need to do. You’ll get more support from your boss when they play a role in creating what you’re suggesting.
Make sure your boss knows you value their input and ideas and although you’re making the suggestion, you want to work together as a team.
- Make sure your boss hears what you’re saying
When presenting your idea, what you say isn’t necessarily what your boss will hear. Be willing to refine your message gradually until your boss understands precisely what you’re trying to convey.
Ask plenty of questions to make sure they’re on track with your thought process and don’t give up until they understand. They might disagree, and that’s okay, but make sure they’re disagreeing with something you’ve actually said.
- Respond honestly and positively to all objections
Rather than getting upset when your boss objects to something, respond honestly and positively to all objections. Acknowledge all input from your boss and/or others present before making alternative suggestions.
Be gentle, considerate, and productive in your communications and your ideas will have a better chance at being heard and accepted.