Many managers know that no matter how high you climb up the corporate ladder, you still have someone to answer to.
Supervisors often have to deal with being caught between the people they are managing and their own bosses.
There are situations when you simply must stand up to your superior, but many are scared to do so because they don’t want to hurt their chances of employment.
However, there are times where doing nothing will hurt you, your own employees, or the company, so you must speak your mind; and here is some advice on how to do so.
Plan – Most people hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it. However, not saying anything and holding your emotions in can lead to a spontaneous outburst which will certainly be much worse than a carefully planned out conversation. Therefore, sit down and really think about what bothers you about the situation. Is it something that you really need to fight for, or is it something that simply annoys you, but you can live with? If you decided to say something, ask your boss to schedule a meeting or a time to speak. This is a better strategy than just accosting him or her in the hallway to air your grievances.
Be Confident – When you approach your superior about an issue or problem, you have to exude confidence. Don’t show your fear or reticence to have the conversation, which will give your superior the upper hand right away. Focus on your nonverbal behaviour by having good posture and good eye contact.
Be Succinct – Don’t go on a long rant right off the bat, or steer off topic. It’s a great idea to practice what you will say, and even take down notes of the main points you want to address. Use clear examples to illustrate your point, and ask your boss if he or she understands where you are coming from.
Provide Recommendations – Many supervisors do not like when their employees come to them with problems and issues without offering solutions. Therefore, think of answers to the problems you are presenting right away, and offer them during your conversation. If you present a different approach to doing something your boss has not considered before, your suggestions may show him or her a better way.
Standing up to your boss is usually a nerve-wrecking experience that you may want to avoid at all costs. However, remember that by not saying anything, the problem will not go away and likely become worse. Instead of staying quiet, plan a conversation that will be respectful, yet direct, and will get your superior to see your point of view.
Senior Trainer & Consultant