5 ways to (nicely) disagree with your boss Barbara Dyer, President and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation.
Why it’s always ok to disagree with your boss by Pontish Yeramyan, founder and CEO of Gap International.
MPW Insider is one of several online communities where the biggest names in business answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you disagree with your boss? is written by Liz Wiseman, President of Wiseman Group.
Let’s face it; disagreeing with your boss is dangerous. And, it’s likely to go as well as telling a toddler that he can’t have something he wants. Your boss will probably throw an adult tantrum, pout, or dig in her heels. Even when you win, you lose. But, you can’t be a valuable professional or a strong leader yourself without speaking up when your boss is fixated on a hair-brained idea. So what do you do?
Instead of disagreeing with higher ups, help them consider another point of view – perhaps a new way of looking at the situation or a different path to get what they want. By not outright disagreeing with them, you keep them out of defense mode and provide a safe way to change their minds. My mother (a brilliant teacher and school principal) once told me, “Always give kids a way out – a way for them to do the right thing.” The same is true for senior managers.
Here are a few ways you can create intellectual safety and help people see another point of view:
When you need to disagree with your boss, be savvy and avoid a head-to-head competition. Help your boss consider new data and arrive at new conclusions. When you’ve managed this well, the new point of view will quickly become his or her own. And, instead of being a Debbie Downer, you become a thought partner – a far more valuable role. And who can disagree with that?
Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: How do you disagree with your boss?
3 tips to make your voice heard at work by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.
How to argue effectively at work by Kathy Collins, Chief Marketing Officer of H&R Block.