12 Things to Practice Before You Confront the Boss

The number one challenge of confronting the boss is being viewed as a supportive team member before you do it.

Constant antagonists are viewed as adversaries.

receive correction well before you give it

12 things to practice before you confront the boss:

  1. Get past being against things. What are you advocating for? When the boss does something you disagree with, going against is the easy response. Constantly going against weakens relationships. 
  2. Don’t be the source of complaints from colleagues. The boss doesn’t feel you’re on their team if they’re always putting out fires you start. Choose behaviors that make life easier for your boss.
  3. Go to them for advice. Frame your question in the plural. “What options do you see?” Always create multiple options that give you choice. (Bring some of your own solutions to the table.)
  4. Understand, articulate, and align with their goals. Hidden agendas are seldom hidden. Work on improving the big picture, even if you struggle with some decisions.
  5. Protect their reputation. Never gossip. Never assume you know their motivations, if you haven’t asked.
  6. Send thank you notes. Explain the positive impact they have on you. Gratitude feels like loyalty. (Make this a sincere practice that’s disconnected from disagreements.)
  7. Support decisions you disagree with, as long as they’re ethical.
  8. Excel at your job.
  9. Help others excel at their jobs.
  10. Apologize when you screw up. Make things right quickly.
  11. Respond with humility when you hear “no”. Humility is always appropriate, especially when expressing disagreement. Receive correction well, before you give it.
  12. Find ways to offer alternatives without making bosses feel attacked. Disagree in private, for example.

Bonus: Always work to make things better. Never use disagreement as an excuse to pull back and not bring your best.

The number one challenge and opportunity of confronting a boss is convincing them you’re pulling the rope with them.

What should be true before you confront the boss?

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