Presenting a problem to your manager

"Problem"... the word that no one wants to hear: "If you go to see your boss, bring him solutions, not problems!" In this way, having a problem without a solution (otherwise, would it still be a problem?) becomes a failure to work autonomously. The question remains unchanged: how to share a problem with your manager without hurting your professional image?
Adopt a posture of co-construction
We expect that our supervisor always be ready to listen and to support us: "He is there to help me!" So we head straight into mutual misunderstanding, each one fixated on a "he is there to..." The impetus to "find our common interest and to imagine solutions" is undeniably more productive.       
Anticipate your manager's interests and constraints
If you expect support from your supervisor, here are some questions to ask yourself beforehand: How does the problem being raised concern him? What is his interest in seeing it resolved? What might be his constraints, his obstacles...?       
Get him to take a position
Are we sometimes fighting all alone? Yes because we have not verified that our motives and goals are indeed shared by other stakeholders. Something that is a problem for me, if it is not also one for my supervisors, has little chance of being solved with their participation. An axis of exchange is therefore essential: "Is this also important for you, or for the enterprise? In what way?"       
Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!
1 / 3   Problem with a collaborator
You are having major problems with one of your collaborators, Albin, and wish to inform your superior. How do you approach this?

Albin’s been on to me again. He’s threatening to resign. I don’t know what more I can do to get him to calm down.
This is just complaining. It would be better to briefly state the facts of the problem.
You’ve got to take over with Albin… we’re heading straight towards a brick wall!
This could be badly perceived by your superior who doesn’t yet have all the elements necessary to form an opinion.
I need your opinion on the subject of Albin. I’d like to avoid a termination of his contract and wanted to talk to you before deciding on an action plan.
Yes, your superior knows immediately what you expect from him. Now you can present the problem, and ways of addressing it, in a concise manner.
I have just spoken to Albin again. Let me summarise how it all started: 2 months ago we had a problem with...

Pointless, first it would be best to address the current issues, then, if necessary, you can give a background summary.
2 / 3   A regrettable error
Your team has made a mistake in the quantitative estimations and this will call into question the announced forecasts. How do you tell your superior?

The estimations we calculated are not quite correct and we will probably have to review our forecasts.
You play down the problem and your message is vague.
Olivier and Jade made a mistake; I don't know how it could have happened. We need to review our forecasts.
Best personally accept responsibility for the mistake.
I have just noticed that our forecasts are wrong; we need to review but it is a mammoth task, we are not going to be ready in time.
You give the impression of not knowing what to do in response to the situation.
The forecasts I gave you are no longer valid because we made a mistake in our estimations. I have a new agenda to submit to you.
You accept responsibility for the mistake and show that you are taking charge of the situation.
3 / 3   Extra resources?
You need an extra person but you know that your superior has a very restricted budget. What do you say to him?
I know this is not the right time but I really need an extra person. If not, we will never manage.
Alarmist response which gives the impressions that you are acting under panic.
I have prepared a provisional forecast "activity in the coming months and available resources". I would like to show you my conclusions.
Yes, you show you have thought about the problem and have concrete proposals to submit.
I have found a solution which will enable us to recruit a collaborator at a minimum cost. We can, for example, use...
Premature! First of all, see whether your superior shares the same opinion on the need to recruit.
I know that the budget is tight, but in Ricardo's team 2 people have been taken on. Would you agree to us recruiting another person?
The comparison is risky and doesn't constitute an argument.
Your score is
You finished!
To review the questions and responses, please choose from the list below.