In the workplace, it can be tempting to say ‘Yes’ to your boss, even if you don’t agree with them. However, while it can mean for an easier life, it’s not always the best course of action. No one is ever going to agree with someone all of the time. And while, bosses can be overbearing occasionally, they will be suspicious of those who do agree with them all the time. When it comes to a disagreement in the workplace, offering constructive criticism can be positive for your career – when given correctly.
Learn how to handle conflict at work…
Obviously, being aggressive, insubordinate or embarrassing a superior in front of others is an absolute no. By all means disagree, but don’t be disagreeable, and, above all, don’t make it personal. When it comes to any conflict of interest, before communicating your side of the story, make sure you know all the facts and are confident in your reasoning. Try to understand the motivating factors behind their stance too.
A lot will depend on the work culture at the organisation. Some companies have a more strict hierarchy when it comes to decision-making, while others encourage feedback from the bottom up. Try to take this into consideration, especially if you haven’t been at the company for long.
Next, carefully consider the time and place to bring up the subject. For instance, would an email be more suitable to bring the issue up initially? Or, would a request for one-on-one meeting to discuss the matter in more detail be more appropriate? This will largely depend on how serious the issue is.
…but never forget that your boss is still your boss
The right approach is critical. Never be confrontational or condescending. Start out with something positive before bringing up your grievance. Use questions to demonstrate that you’re keen to listen and you want your supervisor to share their thoughts for you to understand more clearly.
Your manager is motivated by results, so frame your arguments in a way that reinforces positive change and successful outcomes for the organisation. Present you argument in this way and it’s possible for you to make your boss conclude that they are in some way responsible for your great idea. That makes you look good too!
But never lose sight of the fact that your boss still has the final say; make your point, but don’t push it too far. Know when to let it go. In the meantime, you can still go about demonstrating how you are committed to the company’s business goals in your everyday work. That way your boss knows that you have the organisation’s best interests at heart and you were acting in good faith.
Finally, choose your battles wisely. If the matter is minor, it might be better to say nothing at all and leave the fighting talk for a more important issue.
Of course, in some cases, you won’t be able to find common ground, and if this is happening too often, it’s might be time to start thinking about a career move. If that’s the case, you’ll find plenty of opportunities with a quick job search on Zoek.
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