While you might spend a good deal of time thinking about what not to say to your boss, keep in mind there are a lot of things you boss truly does want to know about. Staying mum about things that are important to you or that impact your work won't do you or your boss any good. Sharing information in a professional way allows you to have an honest and open flow of communication with your manager and helps her do her job more effectively.
Mistakes and Errors
Never try to hide professional missteps from your boss, particularly when they involve high-profile clients or could result in costs or illegal action for the company. Let your boss know when you make a mistake, but go into that discussion prepared with suggested resolutions. For example, if you overcharge a client for services, suggest that you notify the client of the error, make an immediate refund and issue a formal, written apology. Your boss will appreciate your forthright and honest approach.
While many bosses prefer that staffers attempt to resolve mild inner-office conflict among themselves, if things get out of hand, the boss wants to know about it. For example, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination or information about stealing or dishonest business practices needs to be brought to your manager’s attention right away. Don't think of it as tattling on your colleagues. Some situations just have to be handled by management, and if you don't feel comfortable addressing a problem on your own, give your boss a heads-up.
If workplace morale is low, productivity usually isn't too hot either. If things are bringing employees down, your boss needs to know about them. For example, rumors circulating about the stability of the company or staffers feeling overworked and underappreciated could lead to dissent and increased turnover. Share this info with your boss, if not in person, through internal surveys, focus groups or even via your human resources office or an anonymous message.
Goals and Aspirations
Good bosses know they need to cultivate their staff and encourage professional development. Your boss needs to know what's important to you career-wise. Share your goals and aspirations, either when your boss asks about them directly or when you're participating in a performance evaluation. Letting your manager know where you eventually see yourself can help her identify opportunities for you within the company. Remain quiet about these things, and your boss may assume you're satisfied where you are, which can stunt your career growth.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.