Navigating Communication with Your Manager: The Dos and Don'ts

Tess McCarthy

Hatched by Tess McCarthy

Jan 22, 2024

4 min read


Navigating Communication with Your Manager: The Dos and Don'ts


Effective communication with your manager is crucial for a positive and productive work environment. However, there are certain things that should be avoided when discussing sensitive topics. This article will explore ten things you should never tell your manager, along with insights on how to navigate these situations. Additionally, we'll delve into the power of poetry as a means of expression and reflection in the workplace.

1. Long-Term Career Plans:

It's important to be mindful when discussing your long-term career plans with your manager. If these plans conflict with your manager's vision for the department's staffing, it can create tension and potential misunderstandings. To maintain a harmonious relationship, it's advisable to align your aspirations with the department's goals or choose an appropriate time to discuss your plans without undermining your manager's vision.

2. Personal Issues:

While it is essential to build a rapport and trust with your manager, divulging personal issues should be approached with caution. Sharing too much personal information may blur professional boundaries and potentially compromise your image as a competent employee. Maintain a professional demeanor while being selective in sharing personal matters to maintain a healthy working relationship.

3. Negative Opinions about Colleagues:

Venting frustrations or expressing negative opinions about colleagues to your manager can create a toxic work environment. Instead, focus on constructive criticism and offer suggestions for improvement in a respectful manner. Encourage open dialogue and collaboration to foster a positive team dynamic.

4. Unresolved Conflicts:

Avoid the temptation to involve your manager in every minor conflict you encounter. Attempt to resolve conflicts independently by engaging in open and honest discussions with your colleagues. If the situation escalates and requires intervention, approach your manager with a clear understanding of the issue, potential solutions, and a willingness to work towards a resolution.

5. Insubordination:

Never boast or discuss instances of insubordination with your manager. While it may seem tempting to highlight your role in challenging authority, it can be perceived as unprofessional and disrespectful. Instead, focus on showcasing your ability to navigate difficult situations while maintaining a respectful and collaborative attitude.

6. Past Mistakes:

Bringing up past mistakes or failures can hinder your professional growth and damage your relationship with your manager. Rather than dwelling on past errors, focus on learning from them and implementing strategies to prevent similar occurrences in the future. Emphasize your commitment to personal growth and highlight the lessons you have gained from those experiences.

7. Salary Comparisons:

Discussing salary comparisons with your manager can be a delicate subject. While transparency is important, it's essential to approach this topic with tact. Instead of comparing your salary to others, focus on highlighting your accomplishments, contributions, and the value you bring to the organization. If you believe you deserve a salary adjustment, present a well-researched case outlining your achievements and market value.

8. Unattainable Commitments:

Avoid making commitments that you cannot fulfill. Overpromising and underdelivering can damage your credibility and trustworthiness. Instead, be realistic about your capabilities and communicate your limitations to your manager. Prioritize effective time management and communicate any challenges that may arise to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

9. Gossip:

Engaging in gossip or spreading rumors about colleagues is unprofessional and can have detrimental effects on workplace morale. Refrain from participating in such conversations and focus on building a positive and inclusive environment. Encourage open communication and constructive feedback to foster a culture of respect and professionalism.

10. Lack of Initiative:

Never admit to your manager that you lack initiative or motivation. Instead, demonstrate your drive and enthusiasm by proactively seeking opportunities to take on additional responsibilities or contribute to new projects. Showcase your willingness to learn and grow, positioning yourself as a valuable asset to the team.

The Power of Poetry in the Workplace:

In the midst of discussing communication with managers, it is worth exploring alternative means of expression and reflection. Poetry, with its ability to capture emotions and provoke thought, can be a valuable tool in the workplace. Through poetry, employees can convey their insights, challenges, and personal growth, fostering a deeper connection with their work and colleagues.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Establish open lines of communication: Foster a transparent and open dialogue with your manager by scheduling regular meetings to discuss your progress, challenges, and career aspirations. This will ensure a clear understanding of expectations and goals.
  • 2. Seek feedback and act on it: Actively seek feedback from your manager and colleagues to identify areas for improvement. Embrace constructive criticism and implement changes to enhance your professional development. This proactive approach will demonstrate your commitment to growth and success.
  • 3. Build strong relationships: Cultivate positive relationships with your manager and colleagues by actively listening, supporting their ideas, and fostering a collaborative environment. These relationships will not only contribute to a harmonious workplace but also create opportunities for growth and advancement.


Navigating communication with your manager requires a delicate balance of transparency, professionalism, and respect. By avoiding sensitive topics, such as long-term career plans that conflict with your manager's vision or discussing personal issues, you can maintain a healthy and productive work environment. Additionally, incorporating poetry as a means of expression can bring a unique perspective and introspection to the workplace. By implementing the actionable advice provided, you can foster strong relationships, seek growth opportunities, and thrive in your professional journey.

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