When Speaking Up, Timing Is Everything

Raising ideas or concerns to managers can raise your profile positively, but not if your busy manager doesn’t have the headspace for it. The authors present research suggesting that people who wait until their contribution is relevant to their unit’s agenda, fully researched, and likely to fall on receptive ears are not only more likely to get listened to, they are also more likely to get promotions and pay raises.

Decades of research have shown that when employees offer ideas or flag concerns, their voice is not always appreciated or valued by their superiors. The contribution may be seen as disruptive or a waste of time. Managers may even take it as an implicit criticism of themselves.

Speaking up with work-related issues, therefore, is very much a risk-reward game. If you raise a valuable idea or concern that your boss is receptive to, she will recognize and reward you for it. But raise something deemed distracting or disruptive, and you may be…

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This article was written by Michael Parke and originally published on hbr.org