While we wouldn’t advocate getting into a full-blown slanging match with your boss, there’s nothing wrong with challenging their ideas to get your point across – and they might just respect you more for it. Here’s how to do it without damaging your relationship or risking your job…
Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Up
Your opinion always counts. It’s essential to learn how to speak up so that you can get your point across. If there’s something on your mind, prepare exactly what you’re going to say well in advance. Remember, there’s more chance your boss will listen and take it on board if you construct your argument in a rational and mature way. Holding your ground in a professional manner will show that you’re dedicated, enthusiastic and confident, and willing to put yourself on the line to make constructive changes within the company.
Check Your Reasoning
Try to put yourself in your boss’s shoes. Would you agree with the argument you’re presenting? Or are you just being defensive because your nose has been pushed out of joint? It’s never easy to take criticism in any form, but if your argument stems from your boss telling you that you’ve done something wrong, even if you think you’re in the right, you disagreeing with them is only going to aggravate the situation further and compromise your professionalism. Make sure it’s something you deem will benefit the both of you and the company as a whole,
Do Your Homework
If you want to raise an issue with your manager, first and foremost, make sure that you’re prepared. If you haven’t done the research in advance your boss is never going to take you seriously, and what’s more, it shows a sense of laziness on your part. You need to give your boss all the essential information to support your argument.
It’s ok to ask questions. If you don’t understand or agree with what your boss is trying to say, it’s better to ask a series of questions so you’re fully informed and have all the information you need to cultivate your own personal opinion. Asking insightful questions will demonstrate to your boss that you’re listening to what they have to say.
There’s a fine line between being passionate and being emotional. Of course, your boss needs to know that you care, but it’s best to keep emotions out of it, else you could run the risk of looking unprofessional. Try to keep as calm and composed as possible. We guarantee that you’ll get the best outcome.
Start On A Positive Note
Starting the conversation with a negative will set the tone for the rest of the discussion. It’s best to kick things off on a positive note by complimenting the things that do work, then follow with productive suggestions on how to improve things and solve the problem.
Get A Room
If you disagree with a decision your boss has made, it won’t do you any favours voicing your opinion over email or in front of your fellow colleagues. If it’s a sensitive subject, it’s best to have a face-to-face conversation in a private space. It’s great to have discussions with the whole team but, depending on the issue you’re raising, pick the right moment and the right setting. Confronting your boss one-on-one also shows guts, so your boss will (hopefully) respect you for having the balls to bring up the conversation in the first place.
Keep It Focussed
Don’t forget that you must have the company’s best interests in mind. Your boss will only care about making changes that will benefit the company as a whole. You need to present your argument in terms of how it’s going to improve the business and the working environment for everyone, not just you. This will show that you're considering the entire organisation, and that you care about your fellow team members too.
Speak The Same Language
Knowing your boss’s personality will help you steer the conversation in the right direction. Get on their level so you can both reach a common ground. There’s no point presenting information they won’t understand or don’t have any interest in. Make sure everything you say to your boss is relevant and delivered in an intelligent and relatable way.