Career Corner: How to Disagree With Your Boss and Keep Your Job

Frustrated at work

At work you have a lot less leeway to get things your way unless you’re the boss. Many people take that as a cue to hold their tongue even if their manager is making a decision they disagree with. But what do you do if you feel so strongly about something that you just have to speak up?

The site Balance Careers had a post on the subject, explaining some useful strategies to know before you say anything so you don’t wind up costing yourself the job.

Have a Good Rapport

One of the best ways to ensure your contrary viewpoint will be received well is to already be on good terms with your boss. If you barely know them or have tension with them, your disagreement might be viewed unfavorably.

Build a Successful Track Record

If you are going to speak like you know better, it generally helps to have a reputation for success. Regardless of the issue, a recent failure on your part could sink your argument.

Back Up Your Opinion with Facts

Be ready to substantiate what you say. If you have statistics or reports that add evidence to your perspective, showing that will be more persuasive than just your word.

Don’t Make Them Feel Foolish

Even if you are right, be mindful not to make it seem like you are showing up your boss. Avoid having the conversation publicly, and avoid talking down even if they are totally out of their depth.

Don’t Go Over Their Head

Give your boss a fair chance to hear you out. Going to somebody higher up in the company immediately can feel adversarial. You want to build trust here, not one-up anyone.

Everyone’s relationship with their boss is different. If you are genuinely concerned about getting fired for dissenting about whatever the issue is, make sure you have a backup plan before you say anything.

For all of Balance Career’s recommendations about what to do before disagreeing with your boss, check out their post here.


Wilmington University, the sponsor of VISTA Today — Career Corner, is a private, open-access institution that serves more than 20,000 adults, including those seeking advancement through higher education and traditional-age students who aspire to become successful global citizens.

One of the most affordable private universities in the Delaware Valley, WilmU is committed to the idea that finishing an undergraduate degree or obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree can be affordable and accessible.

The University offers over 200 accredited and career-relevant degree and certificate programs in flexible online and hybrid formats designed to accommodate adults of all ages who work full- or part-time or juggle demanding career, family, and personal schedules.

Learn more about WilmU here or register to attend one of the University’s webinars. You will find information about academic programs, flexible scheduling options, tuition, admissions, student services, athletics, and more.

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