10 Things Never, Ever to Tell Your Manager (And 3 Actionable Tips for Better Communication)

Tess McCarthy

Hatched by Tess McCarthy

Oct 09, 2023

5 min read


10 Things Never, Ever to Tell Your Manager (And 3 Actionable Tips for Better Communication)

In any professional setting, maintaining a positive and effective relationship with your manager is crucial for your career growth and overall job satisfaction. While open and transparent communication is encouraged, there are certain things that you should never, ever tell your manager. Let's explore these ten delicate topics to avoid, and discover three actionable tips for better communication.

  • 1. Never share confidential information: One of the cardinal rules in any workplace is to respect the confidentiality of your colleagues. If you happen to learn something in confidence from another employee, unless it poses a safety concern, it's important to keep it to yourself. Sharing confidential information can erode trust and create a hostile work environment, damaging both your relationships and the overall morale of the team.
  • 2. Avoid discussing personal issues: While it's natural to form bonds and friendships with your colleagues, it's vital to maintain a level of professionalism when interacting with your manager. Sharing personal issues or personal details can create awkwardness and blur the boundaries between your personal and professional lives. Keep the conversation focused on work-related matters to maintain a healthy and respectful relationship with your manager.
  • 3. Don't criticize your manager openly: Constructive criticism is an essential part of any professional environment, but it's important to exercise caution when offering feedback to your manager. Criticizing your manager openly can be perceived as insubordination and may negatively impact your professional reputation. If you have concerns or suggestions, it's best to address them privately and in a respectful manner, focusing on finding solutions rather than pointing out faults.
  • 4. Avoid discussing salary comparisons: Money can be a sensitive topic, and discussing salary comparisons with your manager can lead to unnecessary tension and discomfort. While it's natural to be curious about your colleagues' salaries, it's essential to maintain professionalism and focus on your own performance and growth. If you feel you deserve a raise or promotion, it's better to gather evidence of your accomplishments and schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss it directly.
  • 5. Never badmouth colleagues: Engaging in office gossip and badmouthing your colleagues not only reflects poorly on your character but can also damage your professional relationships. Remember, your manager relies on a cohesive team to achieve goals, and spreading negativity or rumors can undermine teamwork and trust. Instead, focus on fostering a positive work environment and addressing concerns through appropriate channels.
  • 6. Avoid discussing your job search: While it's understandable to explore new opportunities and career growth, it's essential to keep your job search confidential. Sharing this information with your manager can create unnecessary tension and potentially jeopardize your current position. If you're actively seeking new employment, it's best to wait until you secure a new job offer before informing your manager about your departure.
  • 7. Don't complain without suggesting solutions: We all encounter challenges and frustrations in the workplace, but venting without offering solutions can be counterproductive. Complaining to your manager without providing potential solutions portrays a lack of problem-solving skills and a negative attitude. Instead, approach your manager with well-thought-out suggestions to address the issue at hand, demonstrating your proactive nature.
  • 8. Never disclose your colleagues' performance issues: It's important to respect the privacy of your colleagues when it comes to their performance. Sharing information about their shortcomings or performance issues with your manager can lead to strained relationships and a toxic work environment. If you notice a recurring problem or believe there is a need for intervention, it's best to speak directly to the person involved or consult with HR for guidance.
  • 9. Avoid discussing personal conflicts: Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but involving your manager in personal conflicts can complicate matters further. Attempt to resolve conflicts directly with the individuals involved, utilizing effective communication and conflict resolution skills. Only seek your manager's involvement if the situation escalates and requires mediation or if it significantly affects your ability to perform your job.
  • 10. Never tell your manager you want their job: Expressing your desire for your manager's job can be perceived as a threat and may strain your relationship. Instead, focus on your own growth and development, seeking opportunities to showcase your skills and take on additional responsibilities. Prove your abilities and dedication, and when the time is right, opportunities for advancement may naturally arise.

Actionable Tips for Better Communication:

  • 1. Foster open and honest communication: Establish a culture of open communication by actively listening to your manager, providing regular updates on your progress, and seeking feedback. This promotes transparency and trust, enabling a stronger working relationship.
  • 2. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings: Regularly scheduled meetings with your manager provide an opportunity to discuss any concerns, seek guidance, and align expectations. This dedicated time fosters a stronger connection and ensures that both parties are on the same page.
  • 3. Take ownership of your professional development: Proactively identify areas for growth and skill enhancement. Discuss your aspirations and career goals with your manager, seeking their guidance and support in reaching those objectives. This demonstrates your commitment to personal growth while involving your manager as a mentor and advocate.

In conclusion, effective communication with your manager is essential for a harmonious and successful professional journey. By avoiding these ten delicate topics and implementing the three actionable tips, you can build a strong and trusting relationship with your manager, paving the way for personal and career growth. Remember, maintaining professionalism, respect, and a solution-oriented mindset will contribute to a positive and productive work environment.

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