If you disagree with your manager about something, it’s important not to panic or retreat. You can disagree constructively by showing respect for his/her point of view, and demonstrating that you care about achieving the best result for the organization. You want to show that you’re truly working to collaborate. So link your ideas directly with your manager’s goals and concerns.
How you approach disagreement is critical when you want to disagree with your manager. Managers who are confident in their own skills and position want employees who will disagree with them when necessary. With disagreement comes alternative ideas, solved problems, stronger relationships, better products for your customers, and personal growth and development.
Be Specific About Your Ideas
Don’t just list objections. Have facts available to support your position. Present supporting data to show that your proposal is fact-based rather than emotional.
Research the area of disagreement. Identify the practices of other departments or companies, and talk with other industry professionals about best practices. These will bring the necessary verification to support your opinion. This is especially important when the decision involves serious business issues that might require a disruptive change in management strategies, financial commitments, or have an emotional affect on employees.
Try to Give a Range of Options
Suggesting different possibilities signals your flexibility, demonstrates your thoughtfulness, and invites your manager to be flexible too. Understand the alternatives and be able to make your case in the context of a strong set of options.
Be Prepared to Win
If your argument prevails, be ready to move it forward. Your manager will expect you to act on your suggestion, and will respect you for seeing your idea through its completion.
If You Have Not Changed the Manager’s Mind
What happens if you have done your best job of disagreeing with the direction and your manager decides to stay on the current path or rejects your solution? You tell the manager that while you disagree, you will perform the request as the manager has decided. Remember, the manager has the decision making authority and responsibility. At this time, you will know the point at which it becomes no longer okay to disagree further.
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David Schuchman Princeton Technology Advisors
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