Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » How to Disagree with Your Boss ...
How to Disagree with Your Boss -- Without Losing Your Job

How to Disagree with Your Boss -- Without Losing Your Job

By Denene Brox

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, co-author of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When 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:

Speak Up

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, co-author 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," Bennington says. "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," Grenny says. "Always try to resolve issues with your colleagues before running to the boss."

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."

Get a Room

If you disagree with a decision your boss has made, the worst thing you can do is voice your opinion in front of others or fire off a heated email.

"Make sure you pick the right moment," says career consultant Andrea Kay. "It may not be a good idea to challenge your boss in a meeting."

And don't just burst into your boss's office; request an appointment in a private place. "It's always better to have it face-to-face," Bennington says. "And if there's a high degree of emotion involved, email is not your medium."

Start on a Positive Note

Don't start the conversation with the negative. Kick things off by complimenting something about the situation that is working, advises Bennington. Then clarify your intentions, concerns and recommendations to make it better.

"If your boss becomes defensive, pause for a moment and check in," Grenny suggests. "Reassure them of your positive intentions and allow them to express any concerns they have."

Stay Company-Focused

Always stay company-focused, says Kay, by asking thoughtful questions and presenting various ways a situation will impact the organization.

Finally, don't be discouraged if your boss ultimately fails to change his mind. Remember that voicing your opinion is good for the company and lets your boss know that you care about the success of the organization.

[Denene Brox is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who regularly covers career and business topics.]

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Accounting Principals
Posted: 05/30/2015
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33309
Ajilon Professional Staffing
Posted: 05/30/2015
Houston, TX, 77027
Ajilon Professional Staffing
Posted: 05/30/2015
San Francisco, CA, 94105
Ajilon Professional Staffing
Posted: 05/30/2015
Houston, TX, 77027
Accounting Principals
Posted: 05/30/2015
Sylmar, CA, 91342

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-210