Raising a concern to your line manager effectively


Raising a concern to your line manager effectively can be essential as a teacher. Working in a school requires lots of personal interactions and sometimes heated conversations with your colleagues. Navigating different personalities and egos can be difficult, especially under the pressures of high workload and accountability.

However, in some cases having an early informal conversation with your line manager or headteacher can help de-escalate tensions and can help solve issues quickly. 

Articulating your thoughts in a logical manner can prevent misunderstandings from escalating into more formal proceedings in the future.

For some issues, such as sexual harassment or whistleblowing, an informal chat is not the best approach. We have published other articles on whistleblowing and how to raise a grievance in our Knowledge Base.

How to raise a problem informally with your line manager

ACAS has produced guidance on how to raise a problem at work. It explains that if you have a problem it’s normally better to raise it informally with your employer first.

Employers are often open to resolving problems quickly without going through a formal procedure. This is referred to as ‘resolving at the lowest possible level’.

You should approach your line manager first. If you do not feel comfortable doing that, try and find someone else you feel comfortable talking to (such as someone in HR).

Citizens Advice explains that before you talk to your line manager, you should think carefully about what you want to say.

Even though it can be difficult sometimes, it is useful to try and frame the situation objectively rather viewing it as a personal attack on yourself. We have published another article if you feel you are being bullied or unfairly mistreated by another member of staff.

Think about how you would like your line manager to respond

Write down the main points you would like to communicate, that will help you to remember everything you want to say. Gather together anything relating to your issue – like the date and time of an incident, any conversations you’ve had about it since then and any emails or letters you can find that relate to your problem.

You should also think about what you want your employer to do about it.

You might find it helpful to talk to friends or colleagues, they might be able to tell you how a similar problem was dealt with.

At the meeting you can:

  • explain what the problem is and what you think should happen;
  • show your manager evidence if necessary, for example your payslips and contract if you think your pay has been incorrect;
  • take notes if you want to remember what was said.

Resolving the problem should be a two-way process. Your line manager should allow you to explain the problem. You should also listen to what they have to say.

It may not always be possible to solve the problem in the way you’d like, but hopefully you can find a solution that works for both of you.

Raising a concern to your line manager effectively can be tricky if you feel the relationship has broken down.

If you feel like you have exhausted your informal conversation options with your line manager you can contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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