How to Tell Your Boss You Disagree
It’s normal to shy away from disagreeing with your boss. You may think that doing so will make your manager perceive you negatively or trigger a defensive reaction. But most managers report that they don’t hear enough alternative points of view. To disagree constructively, try these things:
- Provide suggestions that your manager can act on, not just objections. Instead of pointing out that a system is faulty, say, “How about we contact others in the industry who have used this system to see if they’re having the same problems? Would you like me to draw up a list of people to call and schedule some time with them?”
- Offer a range of options. Binary choices (“Your way or my way”) are likely to meet resistance. Suggesting a few possibilities signals your flexibility and invites your manager to respond in kind.
- Avoid “hot button” language. For example, if your boss always recoils when someone describes an approach as a “best practice” or “the next big thing,” find another way to express yourself.