Business Coach: The Four Things Every Manager Wants to Hear from Employees

(Originally published on June 26,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Ruben Anlacan Jr.

One of the most difficult problems a manager faces is not getting the truth about important matters. After all, one cannot make a good decision if he/she does not have an accurate picture of the situation. Unfortunately this is more the rule than the exception. This is a big problem among Filipinos, in particular, because most people fear offending their superiors or are just too shy to speak up.

What happens is that employees keep their silence or try to send signals in the hope that their managers will get the message. Unfortunately this approach tends to be a hit or miss. The busy manager may be too distracted to spot what you think are obvious hints. Using this tactic takes time, and by then it may be too late to change matters.

To discuss all the things managers need to hear from employees would take an entire book. Here are the things I consider the most common and vital.

1. Say what you want to do. Making your boss guess what you prefer to do is like expecting him/her to have ESP. Although the company is not paying you to do what you want to do, it is of mutual benefit if you are motivated to do the task. You may have certain abilities that your boss is not aware of. In discussing this, phrase it in a way that will show how you can better serve the company. After all, you will be able to do more if you like what you are doing.

2. Say what you dislike. This is not a problem when the task is obviously unpleasant and nobody would want to do it. In this case, your boss already knows that it is a sacrifice on your part. On the other hand, there are also functions people may think you like when in reality, reduce you to a nervous wreck or bores you to tears. Taking clients out may have been fun when you were younger, but if you already have a family, then too much of this may now be stressful especially if you have to stay out late at night. What was then a reward is now more of a punishment.

3. Disclose problems. This covers a lot of ground, from petty, easily resolvable problems to full-blown anomalies that threaten to bankrupt the company. This is the hardest thing to do. You may be branded as a bootlicker who wishes to please the boss to gain a personal advantage. In some situations, it may even cost you your life! It is difficult to make a categorical statement about this, because being a whistle blower is extremely dangerous and not everyone is cut out to be a hero. Just make sure you don’t get entangled with the culprits.

4. Ask for a raise before resigning. It so often happens that an employee enjoys his job and gets along fine with his boss, but despite all efforts he just cannot make ends meet with his current salary. However, he is afraid that asking for a raise will jeopardize his standing. Often an employee ends up dropping a bombshell with news of his resignation. This stuns the manager, who may be more than willing to give what the employee wants. There are, of course, times when the company’s salary structure prevents any further adjustment to wages, but do consider asking before resigning.

There are a limitless number of problems that may be nipped in the bud if only the employee had the courage to discuss the matter with the boss. However, there are still risks in being candid. A more subtle approach may be tried at first. But if your clues are still not picked up by your boss, it is usually best to state the matter directly. Remember: fortune favors the brave!

Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of  BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit or e-mail

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Posted on August 31, 2011, in Business Agenda Classifieds Columns, BusinessCoach and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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