How to Disagree with a Superior: Recommendations

Communication and Skills


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Communication and Skills > Best Practices

Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands
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 of speaking up. You might need more time to rethink the issue. You may benefit from getting more insights or views from colleagues, and develop your 'army' in case there are lots of opposing views. (...) Read more? Sign up for free

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  anuradha, Career Consultant, India

How to Disagree with the Superior

The above mentioned points are absolutely relevant (...)

  C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia

Eulogy of Julius Caesar is the Perfect Case Study

Yes, when you have to disagree with your superiors (...)

  Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico

Don´t Disagree; Instead Ask a Key Question

I recommend you do not disagree with a superior. (...)

  David Lee, Business Consultant, United Kingdom

How to Disagree with a Superior

Anneke and the subsequent responders provide a com (...)

  srinivas, Lecturer, India

Healthy Debate May Resolve

A subordinate in disagreement may be having a vali (...)

  Bashe, Manager, South Africa

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Great article. I recently used the 9 points, in pa (...)

  Juan Perez Eras

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The WORST THING IS TO REMAIN SILENT when you are n (...)

  Afshan Ali, HR Consultant, Pakistan

Disagreement with your Supervisor


  Dwarica, Student (University), Trinidad and Tobago

Disagreeing with a Superior

Interesting article. Sometimes we should assess w (...)

  srinivas, Lecturer, India

Disagreement in the Form of Constructive Criticism after Preparation

As per experiential system CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM (...)

  Adrian Green, Coach, United Kingdom

Balthasar Gracian's Quote on Advising a Prince

@Nathalie De Broux: Hello Nathalie! I trust all i (...)

  Emmanuel Mwirichia, Manager, Kenya

Always Agree with your Superior (in Public)... Before Disagreeing (In Private)

Firstly, remember your superior is probably dealin (...)

  Benjamin Motlhabane, Consultant, South Africa

Diplomacy is Key

I see a lot of disagreements in my current place o (...)

  Kabesha, Zambia

Agree to Disagree

First state the point of view of your superior and (...)

  srinivas, Lecturer, India

A State of Equanimity by the Boss is Key

There is a saying that to maintain a good relation (...)

  oostvoorn, Coach, Netherlands

Superiority Itself is Debatable

I’m convinced that no person is superior to anothe (...)

  Dil Prasad Shrestha, PhD, Management Consultant, Nepal

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I think it depends on the NATURE OF THE JOB and th (...)

  Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed, Management Consultant, Pakistan

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If the supervisor is experienced, (s)he can raise (...)

  Sascha A. Carlin

Polite / Friendly

Hi all… Anneke, what you listed is how anyone shou (...)

  Chander Shenoy, Business Consultant, India

Analyze the Situation and its Impact Objectively

Galo's tips are quite comprehensive and very relev (...)

  Jacques-Alain TIAKO, Manager, France

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1. PREPARATION of the Face-to-Face meeting with th (...)

  William Stadler, Manager, United States

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This is a valuable lesson and all the feedback her (...)

  GUADALUPE GABRIEL, Manager, Mexico

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@: I agree and suggest following rule of thumb: (...)

  Dr Hyacinth C. Abara, Student (Other), Norway

Only Present your Strongest Points

Thank you, @. Your recommendation strikes me as ve (...)

  Nagarajan.S, Manager, Singapore

Superior is Probably more Experienced

Practically your superior should be someone that i (...)

  Ashutosh Narayan, Student (MBA)

Theoretical Aspects and Practical Solutions of Disagreeing with your Manager

By reading the main article one can learn the THEO (...)

  RAJNARAYANAN B, Teacher, India

How to Disagree with a Centralized Superior/Boss

While having all these thoughts we also need to co (...)

  Engel, Project Manager, Germany

Quote from Steve Jobs on Smart People

Beside all the wise advises about integrity and ti (...)

  NYAMEKA MAKITSHI, Manager, South Africa

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First it is important to understand what the Super (...)

  Dennis, Student (University), Zimbabwe

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I agree with @ that disagreeing with you superior (...)

  Abu Bakarr Dumbuya, Student (MBA), Sierra Leone

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It is no crime to disagree with your superior, but (...)

  Amar Deep Seetohul, Manager, Mauritius

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Among the 10 subordinates who report to me directl (...)

  Juan Perez Eras

Ego Limits Ability to Listen

@: In certain occasions, leaders of organization (...)

  S. Lago, Business Consultant, Canada

Create a Document (Handout)

I agree with the above comments that have been mad (...)

  Andre-Ambrosio ABRAMCZUK, Teacher, Brazil

Disagreeing with the Superior in Writing

Once I heard about a boss who allowed his subordin (...)

  Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands

Cultural Aspects of Disagreeing with Someone Else

Nice contributions, everybody! This page has becom (...)

  Chander Shenoy, Business Consultant, India

Put Yourself in your Boss's Shoes

@: That's indeed a very good remark, Jaap (Cultura (...)

  Musiyandaka Donna, Student (University), Zimbabwe

Disagree with the Organisation in Mind

When disagreeing, it is also important to think of (...)

  Gavril, Management Consultant, Albania

No Best Way to Disagree with any Superior

I worked with both open minded superiors as well a (...)

  Delfor Ibarra, Consultant, Argentina

To Dissent is Part of Loyalty

However, it is the way of transmitting dissent tha (...)

  Borje Vickberg, Sweden

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Interesting ideas and reflexions. However as was m (...)

  Francis, Manager, Thailand

No One is Always Right and that Includes Yourself!

Disagreement happens everyday but always remember (...)

  Delfor Ibarra, Consultant, Argentina

Gracias Francis!

@: It is possible that my point of view in Spanish (...)

  Chander Shenoy, Business Consultant, India

Motivate your Disagreement with Org Goals

@: I agree that if you link disagreements to organ (...)

  Leslie Leckie, Student (University), Jamaica

How to Disagree with a Superior

It is indeed important for staff members to realiz (...)

  Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom

Disagreeing with a Line Senior: Itemized Response Approach

A person may be “senior” to me (as manager or clie (...)

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