How to Disagree with Your Boss Without Losing Your Job
Denene Brox | for HotJobs
You’re at your weekly staff meeting, and you’ve just presented your brilliant idea on how to boost productivity and save money. But then your boss shoots down your idea with a vague reason or two. You know you’re right and your boss is wrong. So should you remain quiet or stand up for your idea?
Joseph Grenny, a coauthor of “Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High,” says that with the right set of skills, you can respectfully disagree with your boss, without damaging the relationship—and without risking your job. Here are some tips:
First, recognize that your opinion counts. “The ability to master crucial conversations is vitally important in the workplace,” says Grenny. “Those who have difficulty confronting others negatively impact their organization.”
Emily Bennington, a coauthor of “Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job,” agrees that learning how to speak up is vital to success. “As you move up in your career, it’s important to understand how to handle difficult conversations,” says Bennington. “The sooner we can all learn to solve problems rationally through mature dialogue, the better.”
Make sure your concern is “boss-worthy”
While being assertive is important, don’t bring every little issue to your boss—be selective.
“When bosses are bombarded with interpersonal issues between colleagues, they feel like they are babysitting more than leading. Always try to resolve issues with your colleagues before running to the boss,” says Grenny.
Larger concerns that impact your performance or the performance of the organization are boss-worthy, as are times when you need to own up to a mistake.
“Always tell your boss when you’ve made a mistake that could potentially damage a relationship with a customer or client,” says Bennington. “A good boss would rather hear about a problem before it becomes a fire.”