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At loggerheads with your boss? These tacit ways will calm the office storm

Tarun Mittal
1st Aug 2017
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All working professionals have, at some point, had an issue with their boss' decisions. It might have been regarding something small like scheduling a meeting, or something important like how to execute a plan. When this happens, few employees bother voicing their differing opinions, while most let it pass. This restrictive, and often, counter-productive submittal comes from the fear that it may leave a bad image and that they'll lose face with their boss. But that only happens when they're unprofessional in voicing their discontentment.

If one disagrees with their boss with valid reasons and without being disrespectful, there's no reason why the disagreement can't be resolved productively. All it takes is a little effort to improve your communication skills.

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Here are five things to keep in mind while disagreeing with your boss:

Stay on topic

When you're contradicting your boss about something, be sure to stay on topic. If the discussion is not going in your favour, it's easy to get carried away and bring up other grievances you may have in the workplace. But your boss' time is valuable and a meandering conversation will dilute the importance of your problem. You will come across as a whiner and your boss might not entertain any further disagreements from you.

Be tactful

While disagreeing with your boss, it's importance that you convey your message in the right tone. Don't be arrogant or timid. Speak with confidence and clarity without being disrespectful. Show that you can still be trusted to follow your boss' decision even though you don't completely agree with it. And no matter what happens, stay calm. Ruffled feathers won't do you any favours.

Do it in private

Sometimes, bringing up a disagreement with your boss may come across as a challenge to her/his authority. So, to avoid embarrassing your boss, have such conversations in private. Also, never do this over the phone or via email. A face-to-face conversation allows you to better express your views and create a mutual understanding.

Be well-informed

If you're countering your boss' decision, make sure you have all your facts straight. If you make a fundamental mistake while presenting your argument, you instantly lose all your credibility. Before facing off to your boss, thoroughly understand the topic at hand, think about the counterarguments and prepare a logical alternative solution for the problem.

Know when to back off

Your argument may be logically sound and your solution may be far better than your boss', and yet there are times when the boss refuses to budge from his/her stance. In such cases, it's better to stop arguing and respectfully accept the boss' decision. In doing so you lose the round but gain your boss’ trust, which might help you the next time around.

A prerequisite for disagreeing with your superiors is them respecting you enough to listen to what you have to say. And respect is something that’s earned over time. If you find yourself frequently disagreeing with your boss' decisions, first start gaining their trust by being a dependable employee. Only then can you get involved in the decision-making processes of your company.

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