What's the Best Way to Express a Complaint

September 14, 1999
Here are a few tips for employees on how to give proper feedback to your boss. (These are also helpful suggestions for you to pass on to your employees!).

  • Change your thought process from just complaining to giving productive and practical solutions. If you were smart enough to get the job, you must be smart enough to help improve it.
  • If you encounter an extremely irritating situation, take five minutes and think about how to prevent it from happening again. Always take that critical five minutes to think before running to the boss.
  • Keep your voice low and stay calm when bringing your complaint (productive solution) to the boss. An irrational or emotional person is probably not going to be heard or respected for their opinion.
  • If you have a complaint about a co-worker, try talking to them first. You will find that most co-worker problems go away without needing to involve the boss. Just be sure to talk calmly and constructively. Try to sleep on it and then approach them the next day. You should also be prepared for some criticism about yourself. A natural reaction to finger pointing is to point back.

SOURCE: Matthew C. Hollingsworth,, Cincinnati.