How To Disagree With Your Manager – And Keep Your Job

agree disagreeHave you been in the position where you disagree with your boss, but are afraid to say anything because of the repercussions that may ensue? Join the club!

There are many people who have been in this position and it causes more frustration than many people can deal with. They either lack the assertiveness skills to face up to the situation, or they fear the consequences of doing so. It may trigger a negative reaction from the boss, or you may be viewed as being negative.

But most managers tell me that they would welcome different opinions and actually value alternative perspectives…as long as they can see the value in the new idea and it’s expressed in a way that will drive decision-making forward.

If you do decide to be constructive and disagree on a point with your manager, here are some ideas that may help:

1) Ensure your ideas are in co-operation with your boss’s goals and the organisation’s vision. For example, “I think that this new project management system is actually more effective than the one we are using and it’s the same price. I know we’ve been using it for some time; would you like me to tell you the extra benefits we would get from the new system?”

2) Don’t just raise objections to what they say…come up with actionable suggestions. Your boss will appreciate some suggestions for alternative courses of action, rather than just highlighting what is wrong with their current mode of thinking.

3) Explain how your idea will overcome risks or bring greater benefits. By detailing what the alternative ideas will result in, you give the boss a better perspective on how it might improve systems or processes.

4) Offer the alternative choices. Hopefully, no manager (even yours) believes they have a manifesto on being correct all the time, so if you have alternative choices, it will help him or her weigh up the consequences with you and come up with ideas that could supplement yours.

5) Reflect their concerns and show how your ideas would work just as well or better. Tell them you’ve done your research and understand how your ideas might cause some concerns. Outline the results your ideas would bring and help them to see that the risks or worries they might have have been thought through effectively.

Naturally, if you both share the same goals and principles, disagreements won’t occur often. When they do, you now have some ideas that will help you have confidence in approaching any situation like this with a plan of action and a results-oriented approach.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.