Communicate and negotiate downshifting properly: Boss, I'm too stressed!


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Less work: The only right strategy when there is too much stress and strain. 10 tips for a goal-oriented conversation strategy to get there.

Communicate and negotiate downshifting properly: Boss, I'm too stressed!

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Downshifting is not that easy

Many workers complain of stress, work overload and pressure. The only really sensible advice that can be given is succinctly summarized: Do less. Or do something completely different.

The arguments you hear are always the same: “Yes, you can do that as a self-employed person. But mine Chef... I can’t just say that, I don’t want to. What am I going to tell him! ” A homicide argument. And one with the wrong question at the end: Because shouldn't be: "What do I tell my boss?", But "How do I tell him?"

The causes are deeper

It is often not necessary to throw everything in or turn it upside down. Because indeed, and this is often underestimated, the sound makes the music. Often the reason for a possible argument is not how you want to work less, but how you make this wish come true.

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In many cases, employees simply resign and practice a kind of do-it-yourself downshifting in silent protest, instead of simply consulting with their supervisor. The most important thing is how you sell your wish to the boss: Simple restructuring in the department is often enough to relieve you and the boss has no losses or hassle with it.

Communicate downshifting wishes correctly

But you have to communicate that correctly, in a reasonable downshifting conversation. Negotiations with the boss are pure psychology - and you have to be very sensitive! You have to know when it makes sense to follow up - and when not!

The timing simply has to be right: This doesn't just apply to radio hosts, getting a job done or looking for a partner for life; Even with successful negotiations with the boss, the perfect time is important!

The boss who is not ready to talk: let it be!

The boss just had to put up with a negotiation defeat or just lost a customer? Very bad time! Because then not only is the money not at all easy for him - he is also pretty bad. If you ask for more salary now, you risk attracting attention.

On the other hand, it looks very different if you have good arguments yourself, for example after successfully completing a project or if the last raise was a while ago. But even when the economy is good, when the boss is just returning from vacation in a good mood or has just been successful, this is a good time psychologically.

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10 tips on how to teach your boss gently but firmly that sometimes less is more

The following applies: Always have patience, the right time will definitely come. Just don't act too hastily - better gather even more pro arguments. But: The salary negotiation should not be postponed again and again out of cowardice. It really comes down to the right time. 10 tips for the right downshifting conversation.

  1. Always conduct the conversation in peace! This gives you more control over what you say and how you do it. It's best to test what you want to say with others beforehand so that you can be sure that your message is getting through.
  2. Don't be loud. You don't have to raise your voice for it to be heard. Even if your words are not aggressive, volume, shouting, quick speech or wild gestures give the other person the impression that you are hostile.
  3. Avoid extreme, generalized terms like never, always, every time, everything, can't, doesn't want to. You may feel safer, but your boss may feel particularly attacked because the generalizations are almost as bad as insults or swear words.
  4. "I want to work less" is not a good place to start a conversation. The wording is too general, the boss will immediately take a defensive stance. Better: Only talk about one partial aspect per conversation and always state the specific case, for example: “Last week I had to stay in the office until 22 p.m. because…”
  5. Do not assume that the other person will understand what you mean; many problems are based on misunderstandings and nobody can read minds.
  6. Express yourself as precisely as possible so that the other person knows what you are talking about and explain it using concrete examples.
  7. Listen to your counterpart instead of interpreting something in his words. And try not to take criticism personally.
  8. Be creative and flexible when looking for a solution. Think about how everyone involved can contribute to solving the problem.
  9. Admit that you made a mistake yourself and then make suggestions. That shows a willingness to compromise.
  10. If the conversation threatens to become aggressive and go wrong: postpone it.

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