How to Disagree with a Superior: Recommendations

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How to Disagree with a Superior: Recommendations
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
Disagreeing with someone who is more powerful than you (e.g., your manager) can put you in a difficult situation. You have to carefully think about WHAT to say and more importantly the WAY you express your disagreements.
Gallo (2016) puts forward 9 tips with regard to disagreeing with your manager:
  1. BE REALISTIC ABOUT THE RISKS: Because people tend to think in worst-case scenarios, they overestimate the risks involved in openly disagreeing with their superiors. You should also think carefully about the risks of NOT 'speaking up'. After that, you can more realistically weigh the possible positive and negative outcomes.
  2. TIMING: Once the above risk assessment concludes that speaking up is the better option, then it is important to carefully think about the timing...Sign up

How to Disagree with the Superior
anuradha, Career Consultant, India, Member
The above mentioned points are absolutely relevant. However, I would like to add that the points to be discussed with the superior can be accentuated ...Sign up

Eulogy of Julius Caesar is the Perfect Case Study
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Yes, when you have to disagree with your superiors, the perfect example to follow is the style/delivery of the Sign up

Don´t Disagree; Instead Ask a Key Question
Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico, Member
I recommend you do not disagree with a superior.
Rather, enrich his/her thinking process with a KEY QUESTION in relation to the effects of his/he...Sign up

How to Disagree with a Superior
David Lee, Business Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Anneke and the subsequent responders provide a comprehensive technique for handling the challenge of disagreeing with a superior. All I would add, as ...Sign up

Healthy Debate May Resolve
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
A subordinate in disagreement may be having a valid point which is critical to decision making. If the argument is not based on facts then it may be c...Sign up

Disagreeing with Superior
Bashe, Manager, South Africa, Member
Great article. I recently used the 9 points, in particular remaining CALM and being FACTUAL. Always stay RESPECTFUL but state your concerns....Sign up

Disagreeing When You Have Technical Arguments
Juan Perez Eras, Accountant, Mexico, Member
The WORST THING IS TO REMAIN SILENT when you are not agreeing with an issue, when you know you have good technical arguments....Sign up

Disagreement with your Supervisor
Afshan Ali, HR Consultant, Pakistan, Member
It is useful to ASSESS THE USUAL LEADERSHIP STYLE of your supervisor before starting a disagreement. An Sign up

Disagreeing with a Superior
Dwarica, Student (University), Trinidad and Tobago, Member
Interesting article.
Sometimes we should assess whether or not expressing our disagreement COULD ACTUALLY RESULT IN A CHANGE of the opinion of th...Sign up

Disagreement in the Form of Constructive Criticism after Preparation
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
As per experiential system CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM should be provided after sufficient preparation at the physical, intellectual, negative, positive em...Sign up

Balthasar Gracian's Quote on Advising a Prince
Adrian Green, Coach, United Kingdom, Member
@Nathalie De Broux: Hello Nathalie! I trust all is well with you. Nice to see you on this discussion forum! The speech to which @C.L. Kappagomtula re...Sign up

Always Agree with your Superior (in Public)... Before Disagreeing (In Private)
Emmanuel Mwirichia, Manager, Kenya, Member
Firstly, remember your superior is probably dealing with numerous FACTORS THAT YOU MAY NOT BE AWARE OF.
Because of that, do not antagonize them i...Sign up

Diplomacy is Key
Benjamin Motlhabane, Consultant, South Africa, Member
I see a lot of disagreements in my current place of employment. It is not healthy at all. Some people tend do it to show off and unfortunately some ma...Sign up

Agree to Disagree
Kabesha, Zambia, Member
First state the point of view of your superior and reengineer it by presenting new solutions. Confidently and respectfully backup your facts with evid...Sign up

A State of Equanimity by the Boss is Key
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
There is a saying that to maintain a good relation one has to follow the following principle "Satyam bruyat, priyam bruyath. Na bruhi satyam apriyat"....Sign up

Superiority Itself is Debatable
oostvoorn, Coach, Netherlands, Member
I’m convinced that no person is superior to another. Of course there are people who are more powerful than you (and might be in a position to harm you...Sign up

Disagreeing with the Boss/Superior
Dil Prasad Shrestha, PhD, Management Consultant, Nepal, Member
I think it depends on the NATURE OF THE JOB and the legitimacy of POWER/AUTHORITY the superior has.
For example, in developing countries, the cas...Sign up

Disagree versus Experience
Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed, Management Consultant, Pakistan, Member
If the supervisor is experienced, (s)he can raise an OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS DISAGREEMENT. He should explain and give confidence to express disagreemen...Sign up

Polite / Friendly
Sascha A. Carlin
Hi all… Anneke, what you listed is how anyone should behave when disagreeing with anyone else - at least in a white collar setting - regardless of you...Sign up

Analyze the Situation and its Impact Objectively
Chander Shenoy, Business Consultant, India, Premium Member
Galo's tips are quite comprehensive and very relevant. To disagree with your boss is one thing, expressing it is yet another. So when you disagree, y...Sign up

Solving Conflicts And/or Disagreements with a Manager
Jacques-Alain TIAKO, Manager, France, Member
1. PREPARATION of the Face-to-Face meeting with the manager
A. First of all, anticipate the discussion with the manager without having negative t...Sign up

How to Disagree with a Superior
William Stadler, Manager, United States, Member
This is a valuable lesson and all the feedback here is relevant. It seems we all face the challenge knowing when to speak in opposition. It's probably...Sign up

Disagreement with a Superior: Assertivity and Empathy
GUADALUPE GABRIEL, Manager, Mexico, Member
@Anuradha: I agree and suggest following rule of thumb:
If we uni...Sign up

Only Present your Strongest Points
Dr Hyacinth C. Abara, Student (Other), Norway, Member
Thank you, @David Lee. Your recommendation strikes me as very pertinent. Disagreeing with a superior is like trying...Sign up

Superior is Probably more Experienced
Nagarajan.S, Manager, Singapore, Member
Practically your superior should be someone that is more experienced than you. That's probably the reason why he/she is on top of you in the organizat...Sign up

Theoretical Aspects and Practical Solutions of Disagreeing with your Manager
Ashutosh Narayan, Student (MBA), Member
By reading the main article one can learn the THEORETICAL ASPECTS. And PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS or rather real life solutions can be found in the comment s...Sign up

How to Disagree with a Centralized Superior/Boss
RAJNARAYANAN B, Teacher, India, Member
While having all these thoughts we also need to consider the superior style, since some people always tend to be centralized (autocratic). Being a lea...Sign up

Quote from Steve Jobs on Smart People
Engel, Project Manager, Germany, Member
Beside all the wise advises about integrity and timing just a quote from Steve Jobs:
"It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell...Sign up

Disagreeing with your Superior
NYAMEKA MAKITSHI, Manager, South Africa, Member
First it is important to understand what the Superior meant by his arguments. Then one can accept what he or she says, but during the discussion raise...Sign up

Disagreeing with Democratic and Autocratic Leaders
Dennis, Student (University), Zimbabwe, Member
I agree with @Afshan Ali that disagreeing with you superior is situational and depends on the leadership style of t...Sign up

First Agree to Disagree with your Superior
Abu Bakarr Dumbuya, Student (MBA), Sierra Leone, Member
It is no crime to disagree with your superior, but the basic rule is that first we should agree to disagree. Then expressing the disagreement could be...Sign up

Disagreeing with your Superior Benefits from Trust and Relationship
Amar Deep Seetohul, Manager, Mauritius, Member
Among the 10 subordinates who report to me directly, there are 3 who have created such a relationship that they have a certain special and particular ...Sign up

Ego Limits Ability to Listen
Juan Perez Eras, Accountant, Mexico, Member
@Nagarajan.S: In certain occasions, leaders of organization tend to belittle subordinates with opinions who have d...Sign up

Create a Document (Handout)
S. Lago, Business Consultant, Canada, Member
I agree with the above comments that have been made regarding how to effectively disagree with a superior. The conversations one has depend on what th...Sign up

Disagreeing with the Superior in Writing
Andre-Ambrosio ABRAMCZUK, Teacher, Brazil, Member
Once I heard about a boss who allowed his subordinates to disagree with him if they presented their reasons in writing. One day, one of the subordinat...Sign up

Cultural Aspects of Disagreeing with Someone Else
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Nice contributions, everybody! This page has become a really good resource for disagreeing with senior managers, etc.
Yet another aspect is CULTU...Sign up

Put Yourself in your Boss's Shoes
Chander Shenoy, Business Consultant, India, Premium Member
@Jaap de Jonge: That's indeed a very good remark, Jaap (Cultural Differences) which can be discussed at length. The...Sign up

Disagree with the Organisation in Mind
Musiyandaka Donna, Student (University), Zimbabwe, Member
When disagreeing, it is also important to think of the effects of what you want to say on the organisation's goals and productiveness. Orient the poin...Sign up

No Best Way to Disagree with any Superior
Gavril, Management Consultant, Albania, Member
I worked with both open minded superiors as well as the opposite type. Lessons learned are important to understand the specific circumstances of any c...Sign up

To Dissent is Part of Loyalty
Delfor Ibarra, Consultant, Argentina, Member
However, it is the way of transmitting dissent that makes it fertile or conflicting. While it is the superior himself who should filter the value of t...Sign up

Disagreeing with a Trump-like Superior
Borje Vickberg, Sweden, Member
Interesting ideas and reflexions. However as was mentioned by others, there are limitations depending on the character of your superior.
Think ab...Sign up

No One is Always Right and that Includes Yourself!
Francis, Manager, Thailand, Member
Disagreement happens everyday but always remember no one is always correct, yourself included. And the majority might be wrong too!
So you must b...Sign up

Gracias Francis!
Delfor Ibarra, Consultant, Argentina, Member
@Francis: It is possible that my point of view in Spanish does not reach to express my total agreement with your vi...Sign up

Motivate your Disagreement with Org Goals
Chander Shenoy, Business Consultant, India, Premium Member
@Musiyandaka Donna: I agree that if you link disagreements to organizational goals this is likely to simmer down an...Sign up

How to Disagree with a Superior
Leslie Leckie, Student (University), Jamaica, Member
It is indeed important for staff members to realize that they can actually disagree with superiors. However, it is also important to know one's superi...Sign up

Disagreeing with a Line Senior: Itemized Response Approach
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
A person may be “senior” to me (as manager or client) but not “superior” for I am not “inferior”. We are equal as human beings. (Aren’t we?)
If d...Sign up

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