Four Ways to Express Dissatisfaction at Work

By Harvard Business Review
August 7, 2018

Feeling disengaged? You’re not alone. Here are some ideas to help communicate your interest in changing that.

Lower employee engagement has been linked to increased turnover, absenteeism and stress. One of the main drivers of employee disengagement is bad leadership. But leaders are often unaware of this, not least because upward negative feedback is rare.

Employees may not feel they can honestly and openly criticize their bosses without paying the consequences. However, not saying anything is arguably worse for everyone.

With that in mind, here are some ways to communicate your dissatisfaction with work.

 “I need your help to reach my full potential.”

When people are highly motivated, they perform at their full potential. But for most people, typical performance is merely a fraction of what they are capable of doing. Using this line will remind your boss that there is a clear return on investment in engagement.

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“I need a new challenge.”

When people are put in roles that enable them to master new skills and solve challenging problems, they feel more valuable and fulfilled. In contrast, having employees cruise on autopilot will turn their jobs into boring and meaningless routines and make them feel useless.

“I’m not sure if this role is the right fit for me.”

People usually are more satisfied and perform better when they are in roles that align with their values and abilities. This line can enable a conversation with your manager about your preferences and could help him rethink where you fit best.

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“My work is exhausting. Can you help me?”

This line is a gentle reminder that managers are largely responsible for the motivation levels of their employees and teams. Competent managers will try to understand what makes each employee tick to develop their role in a way that provides meaning.

Copyright 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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