Discuss Your Intent Before Content When Disagreeing With Your Boss

Discuss Your Intent Before Content When Disagreeing With Your Boss
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Disagreeing with your boss is difficult territory to wander through. To keep the discussion civil, Harvard Business Review suggests you frame your intent as a mutual goal before you get into the details.

Picture: Tama Leaver/Flickr

The idea is that instead of putting your boss on the defensive right away with your new idea, you talk about your mutual goal and interests first:

When the boss gets defensive, it’s for one of two reasons. The first is because she believes your dissent is a threat to her goals. Defences are far less often provoked by actual content than they are by perceived intent. You can be far more candid about your view if you frame it in the context of a mutual purpose that the boss already cares about. If you fail to do this, the boss may believe your disagreement signals a lack of commitment to her interests.

This way, your boss is more likely to be open to your idea instead of being defensive, and you can hopefully discuss your dissent with a little more open-mindedness.

How to Disagree with Your Boss [Harvard Business Review]