Introduction: Why is it so Hard to Speak to Your Boss on the Phone?
The first time I had to speak up to my boss on the phone I could barely get a word in edgewise. I didn’t know what to say to her, so I just apologized for bothering her and then hung up. Needless to say, that wasn’t the last time I had to speak with her on the phone; in fact, it was just the first.
What is so hard about speaking to your boss on the phone? It’s a difficult question, and one that has many answers. We can all agree that sometimes it’s difficult to speak up when you’re face-to-face with another person. You may not want their reaction – or even your own – judging you before they can understand what you’re saying. Even if they are willing to listen, you may be worried that your idea could be shut down before anyone else even gets a chance to think about it.
How Much Is a Courageous Business Call Worth?
The first time I tried to speak to my boss on the phone I completely set up the situation for failure. She was expecting a call from her worst nightmare, and that’s exactly what she got. Now imagine if I had been brave enough to say what was on my mind. This is where courage comes in: calling up your boss to express an idea and standing firm while the world tries to send you down a different track.
“I am not saying that it is the best idea in the world, but I think that we should go this way instead . . . ” was my opening gambit and it went down like lead balloons. Just as I began to wonder if my offer was absolutely and utterly fruitless, she hung up on me.
“Must have had an attack of the meanies,” I thought to myself and promptly went home. I had learned a valuable lesson that day. Not just a lesson on being brave and calling people up, but also a cautionary tale on being brave enough not to.
I was in my first year as an advertising manager at the time, and after four months and only one call, I decided to call my boss and see if I could get her best wishes for success.
I have always had a fear of being pushed, bullied and intimidated in the workplace, so I thought that maybe some tough love would be better than none at all. The best way to get my boss’s attention was to stand up for myself and say what was on my mind. If I gave her a direct call, I would get an immediate response.
Success Stories of People who Made Courageous Phone Calls
The employee who took a chance and invited his boss to lunch. The boss accepted and the employee was able to deliver his concerns in person, and even got the boss to open up about the problems at home that made her always tired. They ended up getting along better after that.
The lady who told her boss she was leaving and turned in her notice that day. She was surprised to find out later that she got the biggest bonus ever. The boss said since he had been telling her for a long time that if she wanted more money, just to ask for it directly.
The woman whose husband wouldn’t listen to advice about his drinking problem and lost his job as a result. He left the house, but she called him in a rage and told him off. He hung up and then apologized. Then he said he’d been having affairs and was going to stop. He did!
Why Do Some People Handle Busy Work Better than Others?
People who handle busy work better get better results. They take risks, they speak up, they ask questions. They don’t wait to be asked to do these things and they don’t assume everyone else is as busy as they are. They do these things because they care about results, about the work itself, and about their coworkers.
Don’t wait for your boss to give you a special assignment or temporary project. Make your own assignments, even if they are busy work, and volunteer for projects large and small. If you’re proactive, and more importantly, if your boss sees that you are proactive, then s/he will be much more likely to support you when it comes time to make the tough assignments.
If you have to do busy work, have a sense of urgency about it. You’re not just checking boxes; you’re making sure the work gets done. And it’s not going to get done by itself. It’s your job to make sure it does.