What do you do when you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite agree with someone, especially if that someone is your superior? Keep quiet? Complain to others? Challenging your boss is daunting but when properly done and supported by good points, it will be appreciated. Here are some tips to get you going.
Respect is non- negotiable: In some organisations, when you challenge, you may be seen as stirring conflict and labelled Ã¢â‚¬ËœtroublesomeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. A boss might even feel undermined, disrespected or take the challenge as an affront to his or her authority if the challenge is not handled properly. Whatever you do, challenge with respect.
Identify the specifics: Before you challenge, identify the specific issue you want to explore. If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the whole Ã¢â‚¬ËœthingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ which is unlikely take care to explain your thinking and be able to support your position on the matter. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the main point you want to make? Is that the real issue or a symptom of a deeper one? What alternative suggestion do you propose? Paraphrase back what your boss is saying so that they know you understand whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s being said.
Choose your battles: You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to speak up about every little thing you disagree with. Challenging is an opportunity to shape things for the better so make sure your point adds value. Bide your time and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Ã¢â‚¬Ëœjump inÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ just because you feel like it. Know when to bite your tongue, especially in high pressure situations. If the boss has to make a quick decision, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the time to give a speech!. Your aim should be to contribute not undermine or make a point just for the sake of it.
Use collaborative language: You may have a right to challenge but donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be reckless in doing so. Be honest with your views by communicating them firmly but nicely. Disagreement does not have to turn into conflict. Build on whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good and explain why you think other issues might be problematic. Avoid Ã¢â‚¬ËœrigidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ phrases like Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthis wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t workÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Ã¢â‚¬ËœI donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like thisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t challenge when you are feeling emotional or unclear about the point you want to make.
Do it for the right reasons: Challenge with the right motives. Not to ridicule, not to demonstrate how smart you are. Remember to challenge the issue- not the person. And challenge willingly because you believe in what you have to say, not to impress anyone. Be discreet and do any challenging of your boss in private as far as is possible.
Exercise restraint: To challenge takes courage. Sometimes you get your Ã¢â‚¬ËœfingersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ burnt.. But please donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Ã¢â‚¬ËœretireÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ from challenging again because one experience went wrong. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s normal to feel afraid but if you have something valuable to say, do soÃ¢â‚¬Â¦with respect.
Now take action: Pick an issue; practice with a colleague how to challenge