In an ideal world, employers and employees would always be on the same page. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. As a result, many employees have to deal with problems their boss may not even recognize. Indeed, even the most hands-on managers can’t know everything about their team members’ day-to-day activities.

Yet, if you’re struggling with a serious productivity issue at the office, it’s imperative to speak to your boss about it. To that end, here five tips that professionals can use to have a positive conversation with their employer: 

Speak with Coworkers First

Before you bring a problem to your boss, it’s usually a good idea to speak with a few coworkers about it first. It’s possible that they may be able to give you extra support or point you to a solution you hadn’t considered before. Only go to your boss once you’ve tried everything in your power to fix the problem.

Be Honest & Concise

Most managers appreciate honest feedback from their team members. If something isn’t working, they should want someone to speak up and fill them in! So don’t be afraid to be blunt in your assessment of a new initiative or project. And certainly say something if you’re having trouble achieving a healthy work-life balance.

However, don’t use this as an opportunity to vent all of your frustrations about your profession. Keep your report concise and clear. This will help you both work toward an amicable outcome.

Offer Resources

The more homework you do before you speak to your boss, the better the  conversation will likely go. As such, it’s a good idea to look for resources or ideas that your boss can explore to deal with a productivity problem. For instance, don’t hesitate to share a buyer’s checklist or a product page if you’ve identified a tech upgrade that can assist you and your team. Doing this will give your manager a useful reference point at the very least.

Don’t Play the Blame Game

No matter how tempting it might be, don’t blame anyone for a general lack of productivity. Again, it’s important to be honest, but don’t go out of your way to tear others down. This is a bad look and won’t improve the situation.

Try Out New Ideas

It’s possible that your boss has an idea for how to deal with a productivity problem that differs from what you expected. Instead of shooting down new ideas, be willing to try new things out. If you trust your boss, then give them the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, if you don’t trust your boss to do the right thing, then it’s probably time to look for new career opportunities anyway!