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No one wants to be seen as incompetent, but mistakes happen.

Sometimes circumstances beyond anyone’s control coalesce into a perfect storm of chaos that you are now expected to navigate. Who hasn’t spent hours trying to fix one of these issues, confident that there must be a solution—only to finally realize that you need to approach your boss? 

It’s hard not to be nervous, or downright anxious, when there is a problem, whether you’re the new person on the team or a seasoned professional. Luckily, Kat Boogard, a freelance writer for The Muse, comes to the rescue in her article, How to Bring a Problem to Your Boss (Without Looking Helpless).

In five straightforward steps, starting with “Determine your method” and “Gather your facts”, Boogard expeditiously explains an effective formula for communicating the problem to a supervisor with the least amount of anxiety—and less opportunity to procrastinate. She even offers tips on wording and when a meeting is more appropriate than an email. Step 5, “Take notes”, is especially important to remember, according to Boogard, as it shows a willingness to learn how to address a similar issue should one arise in the future.