How to Propose Changes in Your Workplace

June 9, 2011

It’s a common dilemma in the workplace: You see something that you know can be improved upon, but you keep your mouth shut out of fear of reprisal or jeopardizing your career.

But is this the right mindset? What if your observations were implemented and it resulted in saving the company money while making your boss look like a hero? Wouldn’t it then be worth it for you to propose your ideas?

Providing feedback in the workplace can backfire on you if you’re not careful. Here are five tips to consider from Dale Carnegie Training that will help to ensure your constructive feedback is accepted in the manner it was intended:

  1. Know what you are talking about — You need to thoroughly learn about and understand existing processes before you start telling everyone how to change them. What may have worked well in your previous place of employment may not, for whatever reason, work in your current position.
  2. Always be positive — Avoid the temptation to simply tell other people what it is they’re doing wrong. This will not, as Dale Carnegie often said, “Win friends and influence people.” Find the positive aspects of what people are doing and stress them above and beyond the changes you’re suggesting.
  3. Lead by example — If you want people to embrace the changes you’re recommending then first implement them yourself, if the situation permits, before proposing them. If they are too complex to implement on your own, write up a detailed implementation plan before you start talking about them.
  4. Make your boss look good — Smart bosses want smart people working for them, because it makes them look successful. If your idea has merit, your boss will likely reap some of the credit and perhaps get promoted. And who moves into the boss’s chair? Often the employee who helped the boss look good in the first place.
  5. Accept feedback graciously — You’ll find a percentage of coworkers telling you why your idea can’t work simply because you thought of it first, and/or had the courage to present your views to your boss. When someone gives you negative feedback on your idea, simply listen and ask questions. And you never know…you just may learn something.
  6. Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed — You may have the greatest idea since the combustible engine, but remember: You’re not the boss—you’re an employee and a coworker.  If your suggestions are ignored don’t lose any sleep over it. Simply move on with your life and career and wait for the next opportunity. Besides, if your suggestion truly has any merit, it will eventually become apparent through the course of daily business.

Remember, there are right ways and a wrong ways to present yourself when suggesting changes in procedures or protocol. Follow these tips to give your feedback the greatest chance of being accepted.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia and Allentown, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Philadelphia and Allentown. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: posterzie

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One Response to How to Propose Changes in Your Workplace

  1. Mark Guillaume on June 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    We have all had great ideas for our companies at somepoint, but rarely do we mention them to the boss. This article gives some great tips to follow when recommending changes at your company.

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