by Laura Gibbons
There is bound to be a time or two in your professional life where you will disagree with your boss. Today’s modern office is often filled with people from different cultures, with a variety of economic and social backgrounds, and contrasting personality types. The occasional disagreement is inevitable however it still can be scary to speak up and disagree with your boss. Being able to speak up in a calm and respectful way can actually give your career a boost in the right direction. Most managers value employees that are able to give honest and reliable feedback especially if that feedback allows them to become more effective managers. Don’t let your fear stop you from speaking up. Here are our top 7 tips to effectively disagree with your boss.
1 – Choose your battles wisely. Don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing. Make sure that you have a valid reason or concern before speaking up. Your disagreement should add value to the conversation. If you choose to disagree with your boss on every point than you risk being viewed as unprofessional and argumentative.
2 – Ask clarifying questions. Asking your manager clarifying questions is a great way to start off the conversation. These questions can also help your manager see the situation from a different perspective and gives them the opportunity to change their mind without any confrontation.
3 – Wait until you are calm. Never confront or argue with your manager when you are emotional. The focus will be on your emotions not on the point that you are trying to make. Your manager won’t be as willing to listen to your points when you are yelling or crying. Schedule time with your boss when you are calm, collected, and ready to discuss the situation.
4 – Show respect. Even though you may disagree with your manager, they are still your manager and need to be treated with respect. Make sure that you are speaking in a respectful tone and manner at all times. The fastest way to lose a disagreement (and possibly your job) is to come across as rude and disrespectful.
5 – Know your boss’ personality. Everybody has a personality type. Some people are very data driven and like hard facts and logic. Other people are more responsive to personal examples or stories. Find out how your boss likes to consume their information and tailor your argument to fit their personality.
6 – Acknowledge common ground. There is probably one or two parts of your manager’s plan or idea that you can agree with. Start the conversation by acknowledging those common points. Your manager will be less defensive and more willing to hear you out when you acknowledge the common ground first.
7 – Know when to back down. It is important to recognize when your manager is not willing to see your views or make your recommended changes. When it has become clear that you have lost the argument, thank your manager for their time, and let them know that you respect their decision. At the end of the day, it is your managers call to make and they need to know that you are willing and able to respect their decisions.
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About the Author
Laura Gibbons is the founder of 9to5SurvivalGuide.com. Laura has survived 12+ years in the corporate retail environment. She has dealt with difficult co-workers, impossible bosses, and stressful work environments. She now shares her insights and expertise on career advancement and 9 to 5 survival through her website.