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How to Disagree With Your Boss

Topics: Career Advice
Image Credit: julief514/Getty Images

It’s natural to hope that your opinions will be valued at work. And as an educated, trained, and experienced member of your industry, you deserve that. Still, it can be hard to voice an opinion when it diverges from the general consensus, or when you directly disagree with your boss. But, you should still share your ideas when they’re in the best interests of the company, even if they stand in opposition to your manager’s beliefs. So, here are some tips for speaking your mind effectively, even when you disagree with your boss:

  1. Try not to be hasty.

Workplace stress is all too common these days. If the pressure goes unrelieved for too long, our temperament and our behavior can be affected. So, before taking any bold action, be sure to pause and think first. Take a deep breath and check in with yourself emotionally. If you’re feeling all worked up, angry, or even just a little more irritable than normal, resolve to wait to voice your dissent. You’ll want to have all your wits about you when you do share your thoughts with your boss — so, wait until you’re feel calm, prepared, and at your best to start talking.

  1. Know that your ideas are valuable and that sharing them is your job.

You were not hired to this position to be a robot. In fact, your social/emotional skills are what separate you from the robots, so get ready to fire them up. As a professional, you’re expected to do something human and hard every once in a while, like disagree with the boss. Ultimately, everyone wants the same thing here: for the business to be successful. So, if you know of a flaw in the plan that needs to be examined, it’s to everyone’s benefit that you share your ideas. If you need help working up a bit of courage, remind yourself beforehand that your contributions are valuable and that you have every right to share them. In fact, it’s in the company’s best interest.

  1. When it’s time to share your ideas, be respectful and solution-oriented.

When you feel ready to voice your opinion, be very aware of your presentation. Demonstrate that this isn’t a personal attack on your boss by keeping things professional and emotionally cool. When you’re humble and non-combative, others feel compelled to respond in kind. So, simply share your ideas clearly and concisely and stick to the facts. Also, be sure to offer some recommendations for how to move forward. It’s always best to propose a solution or two rather than simply offer a critique.

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  1. Don’t go on and on.

It’s important to know when to cut your losses and move on from these kinds of conversations. A few volleys of questions and answers are fine, but too much beyond that could get you into trouble. If others have questions, be calm and answer them respectfully, but let your boss guide the pace of this interaction. Don’t get caught up in a long back-and-forth discussion about it. Say something to lighten the mood or change the subject. You can always share more later if others let you know they’re interested. But, give everyone a bit of time to process your initial contribution first.

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Have you disagreed with your boss in the past? How did it go? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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