USA Today, March 4, 2016.
1. CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE TIME AND PLACE
… Are you in a team meeting where everyone is sharing suggestions and ideas with your manager? That could be a perfect opportunity to speak up, without it seeming aggressive, condescending, or accusatory. Would your boss feel embarrassed or ganged up on if you voiced your opinion in a large group setting? Then you’re better off setting up a separate, one-on-one meeting to talk it out…
2. START POSITIVE
… This is exactly why it’s important to start off your opposition by clearly pointing out something positive. Perhaps it’s a portion of the idea that you really liked or a piece of the process that’s already working quite well…
3. ASK QUESTIONS
Your manager is the one in charge—so he or she likely won’t respond too well if you act like you’re the one who should be doling out criticisms and instructions. How do you get around this? Asking questions of your boss is a great way to make it clear that you’re aiming to foster a collaborative discussion, rather than storming in and firing off demands.
For example, you could say something like, “I really like your idea of holding weekly team meetings for everyone to get on the same page. However, I think having these on Wednesdays instead of Mondays would be better. What do you think?”
This explicitly invites your supervisor to share his or her thoughts or feelings with you, too—meaning the conversation isn’t aggressive or one-sided…
4. FOCUS ON RESULTS
…So, if you can adequately outline the positive results of your opinion or idea, you’re one step closer to getting your supervisor on your side. Let’s use our team meeting example from above to really drive the point home. We’ll use those exact same sentences, but just add a little something to it.
“I really like your idea of holding weekly team meetings for everyone to get on the same page. However, I think having these on Wednesdays instead of Mondays would be better, as it gives everyone a chance to get caught up from the weekend—meaning our meeting will be that much more productive. What do you think?”
See how much more powerful that is? It illustrates that you’re simply trying to suggest a positive change for your office and co-workers—not attack your boss’ authority and intelligence.
5. RESPECT THE FINAL DECISION
In the end, your boss has the final say. If he or she considers your opinion, only to rule against it and carry on with the plan you disagreed with? Well, you need to respect that…