We have all had situations at work when we are sure we have the best course of action, but the boss decides on an alternative method. Now we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We want to make sure we get the job done but we also have to follow instruction. If you don’t do what the boss asks you could face consequences; on the flip side of the coin, things could go wrong because the best strategy isn’t being implemented. You want to tell your superior your thoughts but you don’t want to offend them either. How do you cross this uneasy bridge?

One thing you need to do off the bat is reevaluate the tactic, method, or strategy that you think is better than the boss’s orders. You want to be 100% sure this is the way to go. It would be awkward and embarrassing to present a solution that was flawed or was inferior to the current plan. Collaborate with others in your department and see what their thoughts are. It would also be helpful to do whatever research you can to verify that your plan, is in fact, the best idea. Also, investigate what industry leaders have done in similar situations. This will also give you support and credibly you’ll need when you do speak to your boss. Once you have done your due diligence in double checking the quality of your plan you will need to bring it up to the boss.

Telling the boss they are wrong is easier said than done. This must been approached carefully and delivered tactfully. We’ve all heard the phrase “there is a time and a place for everything.” This holds true for this circumstance as well. If the boss outlines a plan during a meeting and the plan is lacking, you should not to call them out in front of everyone and impose your thoughts. I’ve seen this happen first hand and it never ends well. The boss is immediately offended and probably won’t even take what you’re saying into consideration. Moreover, the outburst could be seen as rude by your colleagues and you could lose respect from them. Now let say you’ve been trying the boss’s method for a while and it’s simply not working and you’ve had enough. Before you go give them a piece of your mind cool off and get you thoughts in place. You need to make sure the time and setting is appropriate. Catch them when they are alone and before the work day starts. You don’t want them to get the vibe that you’re challenging their authority or trumping their judgment, but rather trying to improve upon their process.

A good leader will always listen to sound advice. When you approach them you need to set the stage for them so they can understand the problems with what is going on. If they aren’t able to understand the flaws then they won’t change anything. Next, you want to present how your ideas fix the flaws of the current plan and still get the same end result. Support your thoughts and ideas with the research you found and with what the leading trends are in the industry. By now they should be getting the picture and will most likely be very impressed, not only with your knowledge but your sound judgment in handling how to tell them they were wrong.

They key to everything is communication. If you don’t say anything then the company and employees can suffer as a result. If you do say something then boss could take it the wrong way and it could cause tension. So the real key isn’t just what you communicate but how you do it. Always make sure you are 100% right before you tell the boss (or anyone) they aren’t. Make sure you have more to support your claim than your opinion. Don’t be disrespectful by undermining the boss in front of other employees. We need to look out for our leaders. Even though they might be wrong in a particular situation, the boss is the boss for a reason. Finally, have a well thought out plan to present your information to the boss so they can understand. Tact and respect go a long way.

Zach Pigg – Director of Recruiting