Disagreeing with your boss is a tricky dance – on the one hand you may want or need to offer an opposing opinion for the sake of the company’s well-being; on the other, you may want or need to keep your job. Now don’t get worried too quickly, a disagreement doesn’t always end in termination. Companies invite differing viewpoints, but if you’re not tactful enough, they may not invite you back to the office. Here’s how to effectively disagree with your superior:
1. Time It Well
It’s important to time your conversation so that you can not only present your opinion when it is relevant to the matter at hand, but so that it doesn’t conflict with other important matters at work. If your boss is stressed out and dealing with other issues, he or she might perceive your disagreement as more of an affront on their authority.
2. Pay Your Respects
Always adhere to the pecking order when you are offering an opposing opinion. Start by acknowledging your respect for your boss and by explaining that your goal in the conversation is to have a productive discussion in order to reach the best possible outcome.
3. Pace Yourself
Be sure to remain clear and concise, and deliver information in an easily digestible manner. Rushing headlong into a diatribe will probably confuse or frustrate your boss, so make sure to remain level-headed. Also try to present facts before you start making judgement calls right away.
After you have presented your point of view, make sure to invite your boss to make comments. In fact, you should probably do this throughout. Since you have already explained to your boss that you are coming to him with your disagreements in order to reach a better outcome for all, make it a point to try to reach some mutual conclusion with him.
Just because you disagree with your boss doesn’t mean you’re going to get sacked if you let him know about it. Just make sure to put your emotions on the back burner and go in there with both a game plan and a game face, and you’ll likely find you’ll elicit his or her respect.
What other tips would you recommend for respectfully disagreeing with a boss?