Friday, May 1, 2015

It's OK to Disagree With Your Manager

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 how do you navigate this significant professional relationship without playing political games or compromising your character?
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 effect 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. Offer examples of how your idea will succeed. If you have tested your approach on a small scale with good results, share that information. Inform the boss what you have learned from your approach.

Be Prepared to Win
If your argument prevails, be ready to move it forward. Demonstrate your commitment to ensuring success. Work with your manager to develop a final action plan. 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


  1. Enjoyed reading the article. Great comments and advice.

  2. Hi David, good morning.

    I hope this note finds you well. Thanks so much for your wonderful article (“It's OK to Disagree With Your Manager”). I enjoyed it very much, clearly a footprint to success, and building belter relationship across party lines.

    All my best,


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