You Can Bring up Disagreements With Your Boss and Still Keep Your Job

Joe Weinlick
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At work, it may seem like you need to go along with every idea your boss presents, especially if you're just starting out in your career. That's not necessary. Your boss hired you for your skills and ideas, but he doesn't expect you to be a doormat. It's perfectly fine if you disagree with him, but there are definitely steps you should take in order to keep a small disagreement from getting out of hand.

Wait for the Right Time

There's a right time and place to voice your disagreement with your boss's idea. Avoid expressing yourself in front of other colleagues. To voice your disagreement respectfully and professionally, ask for some one-on-one time. Your boss will appreciate your discretion and sensitivity.

Don't Get Personal

Be honest with yourself about why you disagree with your boss's idea. Is the idea a bad move for the company, or do you just not like it? Try to separate your personal feelings from the situation, and assess possible reasons why the decision isn't sitting well with you. Remove emotion from the equation, and stick to the facts, advises career expert J.T. O'Donnell.

Do Your Research

It would be ineffective to voice your disagreement without presenting a case to back up your opinion. Prior to sitting down with your boss, thoroughly research all possible reasons why he might be making this decision. Check and double-check all facts; there may have been something important that you missed. Otherwise, collect any information that supports your argument, and put it together so it makes sense. Additionally, come up with an alternative solution to the boss's proposal. There's no use presenting a disagreeing opinion if you don't present a better idea to replace it.


Once you've presented your case, it's time to listen to what your boss has to say. He may provide further detail or explanation, which may help enlighten you on the reasons for his decision. If that's not the case, understand there may be information you aren't privy to that is influencing your boss's decision. Either way, you need to accept whatever his rebuttal is.

Prepare to Move Forward

Once you've had a one-on-one conversation with your boss and presented your case, you may have to prepare yourself in case he still decides to move forward with the original idea. Presenting your disagreement is not a guarantee that he'll heed your advice. If this happens, let it go and get on board with the boss's plans. It shows that despite your reservations, you are a flexible and adaptable team player. Feel good in knowing that you at least got the opportunity to present your opinion on the matter.

Taking these steps in the event of a disagreement with your boss helps keep the situation calm and professional. As long as you present your disagreement with facts and plenty of respect, your boss should lend an ear, even if the final outcome is not what you want.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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