Addressing your manager when you have an issue at work

Sometimes on the job, you will run into issues. Issues are normal for any job, but they can be tricky to solve.

The most important thing to keep in mind when solving issues is that you should have a calm attitude. It’s also important to think about what can be done to solve the issue before acting on anything. 

Having a calm attitude and thinking through problems is where you will find the solution. Below, we are writing out steps on how you can work through issues alone first but also with your manager if you need. 

Step #1: Write out your problem either on your phone notes app or on a piece of paper. 

It’s very helpful to write out your problem so that your thoughts are clear and organized. Other than writing down the problem, we also recommend writing down ideas you have on how to solve it.

Most of the time, once you do this, you will find that you have thought of a solution to your problem that you can then use. 

Sometimes, you won’t be able to find a solution by just writing out the issue and potential solutions. This is still a good way to calmly try to solve a problem, though.

If your problem is not solved by writing it and potential solutions out, you should ask your manager for help thinking of a solution.

Step #2: Email your manager if you're unable to solve the problem yourself

If you want input from your manager on your problem, we first recommend emailing them about the problem. In the email, you should:

  • Detail the issue, describing exactly what the problem is AND
  • Write out some of the ideas you have been thinking of that could solve the issue

By writing out an issue in a clear way, your manager can clearly understand the problem. 

And, by writing out some of the solutions you have been thinking about, your manager can see that you truly are trying to fix the problem. 

Step #3: Understand the advice from your manager

Once your manager reads your message and responds, there are a couple of things that could happen:

  • They could give you advice right away. If this happens, then great- you’re ready to implement their solution and solve your problem. 
  • They could also ask more questions about the problem so that they can understand it better and then get back to you with a solution after this. 

Next it’s important to say thank you to them for their help. Even if they did not solve your problem right away, you should email them a thank you at this point.

If they asked more questions about the issue, you should answer them to the best of your ability. Then, you should wait for their reply.

If this process is taking longer than you thought, you can email your manager and ask to set up a phone call. On this phone call, you can describe the problem better and come up with a solution together. 

After this, you can take their advice and apply it. By following this, you can be sure your problem gets solved.

Step #4: Implement your solution

After talking to your manager, take time to use the solution you came up with. At this point, you should begin to see your issue going away. If your issue is not going away, you should repeat this process of:

  • Writing out your problem and some potential solutions
  • Trying to solve the problem on your own and
  • Asking your manager for help if you need it

However, after already doing this, you should normally see results after the first time and not have to repeat this process.

In summary:

Having issues at work is tough, and sometimes can take away your motivation. This is why it’s really important that you try to solve problems as soon as you have them.

First you can solve them on your own by writing them down and brainstorming solutions. Then, you can talk with your manager if you need some extra help. 

Always remember that your manager is a busy person so you shouldn’t go to them with every small problem you have. If you ask them nicely for advice and show them that you are already thinking about solutions, they will be happy to provide you with some advice.

By approaching your problems calmly, trying to solve them on your own, and asking for help when you need it, you will find that you have become a very good problem solver. When a caregiver is a good problem solver, they will find themself enjoying their work and client.

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