Bring solutions, not problems
While employees may often have a narrow job function, a hallmark of management is multi-tasking: many things to do and not enough hours to do them. Frequently beleaguered by vexing problems. In such an environment, the last thing managers want are more problems. Of course, problems invariably occur in the normal course of business.. but how you position these issues can be a difference maker.
To the extent possible, think of solutions not just problems.
For instance, let’s say to your dismay you’ve just discovered your department looks like it’s going $25,000 over budget. Well, you could agitatedly walk in to your boss’s office and say, “OMG, it looks like we’re going to be $25,000 over budget — we’re totally screwed!” But chances are this approach will do nothing so much as raise blood pressure and conflict. A wiser approach would be to give the issue considerable thought before taking it to your boss, and outlining constructive ways to address the mess: “It looks like we’re going to be $25,000 over budget for Project X, which is a potentially serious problem, but if we take $15,000 from Project Y and $10,000 from Project Z, both of which are currently running under budget, we should be able to keep things in balance.” Management appreciates predictability… and avoiding crises and keeping business on an even keel