Should You Complain About Your Boss To Their Boss? Yes, But

Written By Aleena

Should you complain about your boss to their boss. If you have a good relationship with your boss, try and work out the issue between you.

However, if you feel like your boss is constantly making your job difficult, it may be time to speak to their boss.

Consider These Factors Before Complaining About Your Boss To Their Boss

It can be tempting to complain about your boss to their boss, but is it worth it?

Here are a few things to consider before you take that step.

1. What’s The Motivation Behind Your Complaint?

Do you have a difference of opinion with your boss? Or are they doing something that’s making your job difficult?

Good relationship  - Complaining About Your Boss To Their Boss

If it’s the former, it may be best to try and work things out with your boss directly.

However, if it’s the latter, you may have a legitimate reason to complain.

2. What’s The Relationship Between You And Your Boss?

Is your boss someone you can talk to openly and honestly? Or do they have a history of being difficult to work with?

It may be best to go over their head if it’s the latter. If you have a good relationship with your boss, it may be worth working out directly with them first.

However, if your boss constantly puts you down, it may be time to speak to their boss.

3. What’s The Relationship Between Your Boss And Their Boss?

Are they close? Do they have a good relationship? If so, your boss may be more likely to listen if you go over their head.

On the other hand, if they don’t have a good relationship, it may not be worth going to their boss.

Because if your boss is already on bad terms with their boss, they won’t listen to anything you have to say.

But even if the relationship between your boss and their boss is good, there are still some risks involved. Such as it could backfire. 

4. What’s The Potential Impact Of Complaining?

Will complaining about your boss to their boss improve the situation?

Or could it make things worse? If you’re unsure, it may be best to talk to someone else about your options first.

There are a few potential risks in complaining about your boss to their boss.

For one, your boss may find out, and it could damage your relationship.

Additionally, nothing may change even if you do speak to their boss.

Or your boss finds out that you went over their head. And they may be less likely to trust you in the future.

Thus, be ready to deal with the potential consequences before taking this step.

5. Are You Willing, To Risk Your Job?

Keep in mind that you may be putting your job at risk by going over your boss’s head. 

Going over  your boss's head - Complaining About Your Boss To Their Boss

So before you take that step, make sure you’re willing to accept the possible consequences.

You may have a backup plan, such as another job lined up. 

But if you don’t, think carefully about whether or not this is a risk you’re willing to take.

6. What Are Your Expectations?

Before you go to your boss’s boss, know what you want to achieve from the conversation.

Do you want them to speak to your boss? Do you want them to give you a raise?

Be clear about what you want to communicate to their boss. Because if you don’t know what you want, it’s unlikely you’ll get it.

Moreover, you are already taking such a massive step by going over your boss’s head. So make sure it’s worth it by having specific expectations in mind.

7. Are You Willing To Stand Up For Yourself?

If you decide to go to your boss’s boss, be prepared to stand up for yourself. This means being assertive and confident in what you’re saying.

It also means being willing to answer any questions they may have.

So if you’re not comfortable with confrontation, this may not be the right step for you.

On the other hand, if you are willing to stand up for yourself, go for it.

Your Starter Pack For The Complaint

Complaining about your boss can be tricky, so make sure you go into the conversation prepared.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Request A Meeting With Their Boss:

The first step is to request a meeting with their boss. You can do this via email or in person.

Conversation prepared.

If you go in person, make sure to choose a time when their boss is available and won’t be interrupted. This way, you’ll have their undivided attention.

2. Write Down What You Want To Say:

Once you have a meeting scheduled, it’s time to start preparing what you will say.

The best way to do this is to write it down. This way, you won’t forget anything important.

Plus, it’ll help you to stay on track during the conversation.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice:

Now that you know what you’re going to say, it’s time to practice.

This way, you’ll feel more confident when the time comes. You can practice in front of a mirror or with a friend.

The key is to make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say.

4. Explain The Situation:

Once you’re in the meeting, take a deep breath and explain the situation.

Start by telling them what your concerns are and why you’re coming to them.

Then, provide specific examples of the problem. This will help them to understand the gravity of the situation.

For instance:

“I’m concerned about the way my boss has been treating me. 

They’ve been belittling me in front of other people, making me feel uncomfortable. 

I don’t think this is appropriate behavior.” 


“I’m worried that my workload is getting too much. I’ve been working overtime a lot lately, and it’s starting to affect my health. 

I don’t think this is sustainable in the long-term.”

5. Tell Them What You Want:

Now that you’ve explained the situation, it’s time to tell them what you want. Be clear and concise about what you’re asking for.

For instance:

“I’d like you to speak to my boss about their behavior.” 


“I need some help with my workload. I’d appreciate it if you could speak to my boss about it.”

Be clear and concise

Just ensure that you’re not making any demands. If you do, it’ll only make the situation worse.

6. Be Ready To Answer Questions:

Once you’ve said your piece, be prepared to answer any questions they may have.

This is where having specific examples of the problem will come in handy.

They may want to know more about the belittling behavior or the overtime hours.

By providing specific examples, you’ll be able to give them a better understanding of the situation.

Therefore, they’ll be in a better position to help you.

7. Thank Them For Their Time:

Thank them for their time once you’ve said everything you need to say.

This shows that you appreciate their help. And that you’re grateful for the opportunity to speak to them.

Then, wait for their response. They may need some time to process everything you’ve said.

Or they may want to speak to your boss right away. Either way, thank them for their time and patience. 

8. Follow Up:

Once the meeting is over, follow up with a thank-you email.

In this email, you can reiterate your concerns and what you’re hoping to achieve.

This way, they’ll have a written record of your conversation. Plus, it shows that you’re serious about the situation.

Sample Email:

Here’s a sample email for you:

“Respected Sir/Madam, 

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. 

As we discussed, I’m concerned about how my boss has been treating me. 

They’ve been belittling me in front of other people, making me feel uncomfortable. 

I don’t think this is appropriate behavior. I’d like for you to speak to my boss about their behavior. 

If you could do that, it would help me out. Thanks again for your time and assistance. 


Your name”

Complain about your boss to their boss only as a last resort. 

Be clear and concise

If you’ve tried to speak to your boss about the problem and they haven’t listened, then you may have no choice.

But, before you take this step, make sure you’ve exhausted all other options.

Going over your boss’s head can damage your relationship with them.

It can also create a hostile work environment. So, only do this as a last resort.

When you do speak to their boss, be professional and courteous. This way, you’ll be more likely to get the outcome you’re hoping for.

Can You Go To HR About This Issue?

Yes, you can go to HR about this issue. HR is an excellent resource for employees who are facing problems at work.

They can help mediate the situation, and they’re familiar with company policy. 

So, if you’re not comfortable speaking to your boss’s boss, you can always go to HR.

Just keep in mind that going to HR should be a last resort. This is because it can damage your relationship with your boss.

It can also make it difficult to resolve the issue.

So, if you do go to HR, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

When Would Your Boss’s Boss Listen To You?

Only when you are convincing and have a strong case with supporting evidence your boss’s boss would listen to you.

Also, you have to have a good reputation in the organization. Be an exemplary employee to date.

There are higher chances of your boss’s boss taking your complaint seriously.

Last but not least, your boss’s boss would be more likely to listen to you if the complaint is genuine. It should not be a result of any personal grudge. 

Keep these things in mind before you decide to take this step.

Final Word:

Ultimately, whether or not to complain about your boss to their boss is a personal one.

There are a few things to consider first, such as your motivation. Also, the potential risks involved.

If you decide to go ahead with it, make sure you’re prepared for the possible consequences.

Last Updated on 3 months by Shahzaib Arshad


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