How to harmoniously disagree with your boss

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”

Little of the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium’s life and work has survived the ravages of time. This moral maxim, however, has echoed through millennia teaching us to navigate the path between opinions and emotions. It signifies good intentions, I suppose. Perhaps to remind us to not let harsh opinions of others affect your decisions. But it’s all in the practice and there are times and places where emotions get the better of you.

One such place is the office where we need to learn to disagree well with people over ideas, expectations, demands, priorities and attitudes. While disagreements at work can be civilized, thought-provoking and productive, it is much too often a source of misery. The closer we are to the colleague, the more disagreement has the power to upset us. The key is to work through conflicts peacefully and strengthen your understanding and relationship with the other person, especially when it’s someone who ranks above you in the office hierarchy.

learn how to disagree with boss

Words have power.

So you need to learn how to respectfully disagree with your boss without causing instability to workplace harmony. Here are a few key tips for disagreeing with your boss,


It’s best to avoid discussing political issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights in the workplace. There are particular political issues that come with no middle ground as they’re often tied to religious or moral beliefs. Steer clear of such issues that have no place in the office.


A simple misunderstanding can have a lasting impact on your workplace relationships. Before you choose to get into a heated debate ask yourself, ‘how do I know this?’ If the only source of information is a tidbit your friends or worker told you or an assumption, think twice about whether it’s credible or not. If you’re not sure, leave it until you have further clarification.

A rational workplace where everyone gets along in spite of their differences is what we should strive to create. Follow these measures to avoid politics at work and the ensuing office drama.

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Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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