What to do when a stakeholder contacts your boss instead of you?

What to do when a stakeholder contacts your boss instead of you?

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When a stakeholder contacts your boss behind your back it can be very frustrating and disempowering. You have put all this time and energy into building a relationship with them, yet they still don’t trust you or are just unaware of the things with which you can support them.

First, it’s important to understand the reasons why stakeholders may be bypassing you and going to your boss. This could be due to a lack of trust or confidence in your abilities, or a perception that your boss has more authority or decision-making power. It could also be that stakeholders simply don’t know who to contact and are reaching out to the person they think will be most helpful.

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Start with the basics

If that happens, start with the basics. The stakeholder contacting your boss is not the end of the world and it can be rectified. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of who they are, how are they positioned in the company, and what are their challenges.

For example, they might be expecting that more senior members of your team, like your boss, will have more accurate information. It is also possible, that they expect your boss to be a decision-maker and for them to make a decision more favorable to their needs.

Think about it this way, if they think that you don’t understand their workload and think that you are making an unreasonable request, they might go to your boss expecting them to be more understanding, as they are at the same level.

It can also have a lot to do with your gender (unfortunately!). I have seen in the past women bypassing other women, regardless of their title. There is still an odd assumption that there is a limited number of ‘female’ seats at the top and getting rid of other women’s opportunities will help you get to the top. I find this notion bizarre, yet I’ve seen it in action! If you think this is the case, it may be harder to break this, but keep on reading for the best way to act.


If you think that you are underpaid, check out my ‘Simple Guide to Hard Conversations: How to ask for a pay rise, and get it!‘. In this guide, we talk about not only the exact steps you should take to get a pay rise, but also how to negotiate through common pushbacks and the differences between a small company and a large corporate. The guide is simple and easy to follow, so go get it now!


It is also possible that you haven’t spent enough time getting to know your stakeholder and sharing what is it that you do and how can this make their work easier.

Once you find the reason, make sure to address it as you go forward.

Make sure your boss doesn’t “deal with it”

It is quite common for some bosses to want to take pressure off their staff and if a situation like this happens, they want to support their team and deal with the stakeholder themselves.

This is the worst that can happen!

If a stakeholder already thought that your boss is better to contact, having them answer their question or agree to a different proceeding than you suggested will undermine your authority even more.

What to do when your stakeholder contacts your boss

The best way to deal with it is to have your boss actually push back and refer the stakeholder back to you.

If there was a request sent via email asking about the process in a certain project, your boss could answer:

“Thank you for reaching out, unfortunately, I am not directly involved in this project. Please reach out to Klaudia if you need support”

or

“Thank you for reaching out. As Klaudia is our subject matter expert on this project, please refer to her for any clarification”

and then, CC you on the email chain. This way stakeholder knows that you are aware of their message.

Once your boss does that, you can respond by offering your help.

Consistency

A big part of stakeholders following the right ‘chain of command’ is having all your leaders and teammates follow the same procedure. If your stakeholders are known for bypassing you or even your boss, you might want to address the issue higher up and agree as a team on the process.

Hope this help! Make sure to share this article with your boss, if you have stakeholders that often go behind your back.

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What to say if your coworker screws up your project

What to say if your coworker screws up your project

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I have recently come across someone sharing a story of a coworker who screwed up their project. Handling a situation like this, especially if you want to stay friendly and professional, but still highlight the issue to the leadership, it can be tricky so here are some ideas on different ways to handle it.

De-personalize the issue

It can often feel that someone is ganging up on you if they bring up any issues in your performance to the leadership. One way to handle it is to use language that de-personalises the issue. For example:

“After careful research, I have suggested that we proceed with A, B, and C. As only A and B were implemented, we have seen results short of my estimates. For the next project, it would need to be ensured that the full recommendation is followed”

If the person asks what happened or how you intend to ensure that the recommendations are followed you can say:

“In the future, it would need a higher attention to detail by all involved. (If this is the first time this happened you can add:). I am sure, it can be handled better once we get used to the process”. 

As you can see, I am using “it was done”, and “it was implemented”. This way you are re-personalising it, saying “it” happened not that someone made a mistake. 

If you think that you are underpaid, check out my ‘Simple Guide to Hard Conversations: How to ask for a pay rise, and get it!‘. In this guide, we talk about not only the exact steps you should take to get a pay rise, but also how to negotiate through common pushbacks and the differences between a small company and a large corporate. The guide is simple and easy to follow, so go get it now!

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Take the collective blame 

You may not want to go this way initially, but hear me out. Have you ever had someone take the blame for your mistake? How did that make you feel? Usually, not only you might feel grateful and like the person more for them taking the hit, but it is also very motivating not to do the same mistake again. 

If you are ok following this tip, here’s a potential scenario, where there were clear mistakes made in the presentation:

“The presentation we delivered took a while to prepare, unfortunately, there have been some errors we have overseen. [list the correct items or hand in a corrected presentation]. We will ensure that in the future we are more diligent. Do you have any questions?”.

If you go this way, remember not to apologise. You are taking the collective blame, however, you haven’t done anything wrong so there is nothing to apologise for. Instead, identify the problems and bring them to the leadership’s attention, offer a solution (for example a presentation with corrected items), propose how you are going to avoid this mistake in the future, and open the room for any questions.

Adding those questions at the end helps – at least me!- not to apologise. If they are going to voice any concerns, you can address them then and there instead of apologising or ruminating in your head afterward.

This method works really well if you have made a mistake – you can take the blame as an individual “I have made an error on page 6”, but follow up with the above structure. It does sound professional and shows that you can take corrective action by yourself. 

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Talk to leader 121 and praise them before you highlight issues

Another way to handle this situation is to do it during a 121 with the leader PLUS adding praise for the person who made a mistake.

For example: 

“Klaudia is a great team member. She has been very involved in this project and has contributed to a lot of analysis. She does have a tendency to rush through things though, so accuracy is not always the best. Is there something we can implement to ensure we cover this weak spot?”. Even better you can suggest a course of action to the leader to take the load off them.

This way you are showing that you still think that this person is a valuable member of the team, however like every human they have flaws and could use some guidance. 

What to say if a co-worker screws up?

If your co-worker has made a mistake that was important enough to bring up to the leadership, you can use one of these methods: de-personalise, take collective blame or talk to the leader 1 on 1. These methods are professional and gentle in approach and can help you stay on the good books with your co-worker, at the same time showing leadership your team spirit and problem solving skills.

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How pay affects performance in the workplace

Pay is a crucial factor in employee performance in the workplace. It not only reflects an employee’s value and contributions to the company, but it also has a direct impact on motivation, engagement, and retention. When employees feel fairly compensated for their work, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their job, leading to improved performance and productivity. On the other hand, when employees feel underpaid or undervalued, it can lead to decreased motivation and performance.

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If you think that you are underpaid, check out my ‘Simple Guide to Hard Conversations: How to ask for a pay rise, and get it!‘. In this guide, we talk about not only the exact steps you should take to get a pay rise, but also how to negotiate through common pushbacks and the differences between a small company and a large corporate. The guide is simple and easy to follow, so go get it now!

There are several ways in which pay can affect performance:

How pay affects motivation

Employees who feel fairly compensated for their work are more likely to be motivated to perform at their best. This is because the pay is often tied to an employee’s sense of fairness and justice. When employees feel that they are being fairly compensated compared to their colleagues and industry standards, they are more likely to be motivated to put in extra effort and take on additional responsibilities. This can lead to improved performance and productivity. On the other hand, when employees feel underpaid or undervalued, they may be less motivated to go above and beyond in their work. This can lead to decreased performance and productivity.

How pay affects engagement

Pay can also affect an employee’s level of engagement in their job. Employees who feel fairly compensated may be more likely to be invested in their work and committed to the success of the company. They may be more likely to stay engaged and focused on their tasks, leading to improved performance. On the other hand, when employees feel underpaid or undervalued, they may be less engaged in their work, leading to decreased performance.

How pay affects retention

Pay can also play a role in employee retention. Employees who feel fairly compensated may be more likely to stay with a company, leading to increased stability and productivity. On the other hand, employees who feel underpaid may be more likely to seek new opportunities elsewhere, leading to higher turnover and decreased performance. High turnover can be disruptive to a company, as it can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and the need to constantly train new employees. This can negatively impact overall performance and productivity.

How pay affects the job satisfaction

In addition to the direct impact on performance, the pay can also affect an employee’s overall job satisfaction and well-being. When employees feel fairly compensated, they are more likely to be satisfied with their job and motivated to continue working hard. On the other hand, when pay is a source of frustration or discontent, it can lead to decreased job satisfaction and motivation. This can have a negative impact on performance, as employees may be less motivated to put in extra effort or take on additional responsibilities.’

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How can companies ensure that pay is affecting employees in a positive way?

There are several ways in which companies can ensure that they are providing fair and competitive pay to their employees. One approach is to conduct regular salary reviews to ensure that employees are being fairly compensated compared to industry standards. Companies can also provide opportunities for employees to negotiate their pay, either through regular performance reviews or through more formal processes such as salary negotiations. This can help employees to advocate for themselves and communicate their value to the company.

It is also important for employees to be proactive in advocating for themselves and negotiating for fair pay. This may involve researching the going rate for their position in the industry, gathering evidence of their accomplishments and extra responsibilities, and preparing a strong case for why they deserve a pay increase. Employees may also want to consider seeking guidance from a mentor or HR representative, as well as practicing effective communication and negotiation skills.

By focusing on pay as a key factor in employee performance, companies and employees can work together to create a positive and productive work environment. Providing fair and competitive pay can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and retention, all of which can contribute to improved performance and

In conclusion, pay is a crucial factor in employee performance in the workplace. It not only reflects an employee’s value and contributions to the company, but it also has a direct impact on motivation, engagement, and retention. By providing fair and competitive pay and encouraging open communication about pay, companies and employees can work together to create a positive and productive work environment. By prioritizing pay as a key element in building a successful and fulfilling career, both companies and employees can benefit from improved performance and productivity.

FREE Resource: 7 steps to get a pay rise!

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How to get a pay rise?

Asking for a pay rise can be a daunting task, but it is important to advocate for yourself and negotiate for fair compensation. In this article, you will learn some simple tips on how to achieve it.

Before we get to the details, I have created a full guide to help you get the best pay rise of your career. You can check it out here.

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  1. Do your research: Before you approach your employer, it is important to have a good understanding of what you are worth in the market. Look at salary data for your industry and job title to see what others with similar experience and qualifications are earning. This will give you a benchmark to use when negotiating.
  2. Make a case for yourself: When requesting a pay rise, be sure to highlight your accomplishments and the value you have brought to the company. This could include increased sales, improved efficiency, or successful project outcomes. Make a list of your achievements and quantify them whenever possible.
  3. Be confident but not aggressive: It is important to approach the conversation with confidence, but not with an aggressive or entitled attitude. Be respectful and professional, and emphasize that you are seeking a pay increase based on your contributions and the value you bring to the company.
  4. Know your negotiating power: Consider your negotiating power when approaching the conversation. If you are in high demand and have received job offers from other companies, you may have more leverage in the negotiation. On the other hand, if you are in a competitive job market and do not have many other options, you may have less negotiating power. Be aware of this and adjust your approach accordingly.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want: It is important to be clear and specific about what you are asking for. Don’t be afraid to state your desired pay increase and give a rationale for why you believe you deserve it. Be prepared to negotiate and be open to compromise, but also be firm in your position.
  6. Consider alternative forms of compensation: If a pay increase is not possible, consider negotiating for other forms of compensation, such as additional vacation time, flexible work arrangements, or professional development opportunities. These options can still be valuable and may help you achieve your career goals.
  7. Know your options: If your employer is unwilling to give you a pay increase, it may be time to consider looking for a new job. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a new position and be proactive in your job search.
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Asking for a pay rise can be intimidating, but it is important to advocate for yourself and negotiate for fair compensation. By doing your research, making a strong case for yourself, and being confident but not aggressive, you can increase your chances of getting the pay increase you deserve

If you would like to learn how to ask for a pay rise step by step, make sure to check out my guide – How to ask for a pay rise, and get it!

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