Whether you are a caregiver employed by a home health agency, or an employee of some other organization who happens to act as a caregiver for an elderly loved one, communication with your employer is a fundamental key to ensuring your effectiveness as a caregiver, your long-term ability to provide adequate care, and the continued health and well-being of the person to whom you are providing care. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are trying to effectively communicate with your employer.
Get to the point first
Many employers are very busy. If your manager is juggling several responsibilities at the same time, he or she is not going to want to sit around while you build up to your point. Instead of giving the slow build-up, state your point and then backfill the details if you feel that it is necessary. That way, while your manager is listening to you, he or she will be framing your supporting points with your conclusion in mind instead of wondering what your point is and why it’s taking you so long to get there.
Adjust your communication
Some employers want a simple, concise statement of the situation. Some of them even would prefer that you skip using complete sentences and use bullet points instead. On the other hand, some managers are more loquacious and prefer that you not only tell them the point, but thoroughly fill in every minute detail.
…by communicating on the level preferred by your manager, you make yourself a more effective communicator…
You should learn what type of communication your employer prefers and tailor your communication accordingly. By adjusting your style to fit the preferred style of your boss, you will help him or her receive what you have to say in a more favorable light. Further, you will save yourself the frustration of being asked to repeat your communication in a different format. Finally, by communicating on the level preferred by your manager, you make yourself a more effective communicator because he or she will not need to inwardly interpret or digest what you are saying.
Be honest about your preferences
Let’s face it: we all have biases and preferences as to how we would like things to go. When you’re speaking with your manager, it’s best to be up-front about where you’re coming from. He or she will eventually figure it out anyway, and by telling him or her at the outset, you establish yourself as an honest employee and build valuable credibility with your boss.
Consider how your issue fits in the overall scheme of things
While a certain issue may be very important to you, it may not be as important to your boss. Alternatively, while you may prefer that a certain issue be decided in one way, your boss may be aware that doing so could have adverse long-term consequences. Thus, in order to cut down on wasted communication, consider your issue in light of the overall backdrop and mission of your higher ups. Doing so can help you determine when is the best time to communicate about a matter, and how you should frame your discussion.
It is important to be able to effectively communicate with your employer. This is true whether you are communicating about something that directly affects the person for whom you are acting as caregiver or whether it simply affects you (and consequently your ability to act as a caregiver).
You can learn to be more effective by putting yourself in the shoes of your manager. Learn to see things through his or her eyes, and learn to communicate in the manner to which he or she is accustomed. Don’t try to hide your preferences, because doing so will only hurt your credibility. Finally, learn to view the big picture as your manager views it so you can have a better idea of how your issue fits in the overall scheme of things.
Green, Alison. (Aug. 19, 2013). How to Talk So Your Boss Will Listen. Money. U.S. News & World Report. Available at http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/08/19/how-to-talk-so-your-boss-will-listen. Last visited January 7, 2016.
Lockwood, Nancy. (2007). Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage. SHRM Research Quarterly. Society for Human Resource Management. Available at http://www.shrm.org/research/articles/articles/documents/07marresearchquarterly.pdf. Last visited January 7, 2016.