How to effectively handle disagreements with your less-than-stellar boss

How to effectively handle disagreements with your less-than-stellar boss
December 7, 2017

We’ve all had them at one time or another: The Bad Boss.

It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s that their style of doing things doesn’t click with you and the gulf between your philosophies can quickly become an abyss if you don’t learn how to pro-actively handle your disagreements.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are and probably look at your boss and think that they may not deserve to be where they are. That’s OK, but you need to tell yourself to let go of any resentment or your performance could suffer.

Whether you’re correct or not about your boss’s ability doesn’t matter. You have to work with the person – and take direction from them – every day. If you are a high performer you don’t want to sit idly by and watch things go in the wrong direction, but approaching your boss when there are differences can be an art form unto itself.


Put Yourself in Their Shoes – You’re not the only one who has to take direction. Is the direction, policy or initiative they are implementing or enforcing their idea or are they being forced to follow someone else’s lead? Is there somebody above their head pulling strings and you’re blaming the wrong person? Also, consider that you probably don’t know everything that’s happening in this person’s life. They are a notch above you in the food chain, but may be completely miserable outside of the office.

Ask Yourself If You’re Upset About Something Else – Are you bringing baggage from outside of the office to work? Does the boss remind you of someone from your past: a teacher, coach, or relative who you didn’t like? Are you upset about something your boss is doing now or do you have lingering resentment over what you perceive are past wrongs?

Get Your Facts Straight – If you’re going to approach your boss about anything from thinking about how to tackle a project in a different way to why you were passed over for a promotion, make sure that you’re dealing with facts, not hearsay or opinion. Nothing will make you feel or look worse than being unprepared.


Be Calm and Collected – Wait to address your issues of disagreement if you are in an emotional or irrational state. You will not be able to effectively present your side of things. Also, don’t bring a flippant or “I don’t care” attitude to the table. You may feel like you don’t care now, but you probably will later.

Be Positive and Focus on What You Already Agree About – You should have the same goals as your boss for your company, even if you disagree about how to get there. Set the tone as one where you understand where the boss is coming from and point out instances of what you agree with and like. It will make presenting – and hearing – your disagreement easier.

Ask Questions and Offer Solutions – If you’re questioning a decision, find out how it was made. You may not be aware of certain variables. Even if you think your boss is completely incompetent, somebody else didn’t and put them in that position. Don’t just point out the problems…offer solutions! There are too many people who love pointing fingers. Be part of the answer.

Thank Your Boss For Listening – You may 100% disagree with the outcome of your discussion, but that’s not a reason to be rude or disrespectful. In the long run, your boss will remember more about HOW you said things not WHAT they were. Don’t burn your bridges and if you think your boss is disrespectful, practice being the bigger person.


Analyze the Results – Did you feel heard? Did you get any results you were looking for? What win can you take away? How may you approach things differently next time? This is a learning experience, so take some time to reflect.

Follow Through – If you were tasked with anything in the confrontation, make sure that you get the job done, especially if you were able to change your boss’s mind about something. This will help your chances in future disagreements if you’re seen as someone who follows through.

Move On – Maybe you did everything listed here and still walked away feeling no satisfaction. You can either stew with it, or take on the next task with an open mind. Try to let things go and not hold a grudge. There may be a day when you’ve had enough and can’t take anymore, but that doesn’t have to be today. Remind yourself that things change and boss-subordinate relationships don’t last forever. In the meantime, remember to keep things classy and respectful.



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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Mindset by Mari Pizarro | Tags: ,