Dare to disagree (without offending anyone)
When you’re working in a corporate setting, it’s likely there will be times when you do not agree with everything that your team might be doing – perhaps you spotted a flaw in the team’s strategy or you have a suggestion that you believe would work even better than the current methodology.
Keeping these thoughts to yourself might seem like the easier option, but you need to speak up for the sake of the greater good. With a little tact and diplomacy, you can get your point across without offending anyone. Here are some things to bear in mind:
Time and Place
It’s not just about what you say – when and where you say it also matters. This may seem like a small consideration, but it makes a significant difference in how your divergence is received.
If you disagree with a colleague's suggestion, you could probably voice your dissent during a team meeting; but if it’s your boss or someone senior to you, it might be better to approach them one-on-one. Be mindful of who is around, as you don’t want this conversation to be uncomfortable for any involved party.
Start on a Positive Note
Begin the conversation by highlighting the good things about the idea. It’s important to make the person behind the idea feel appreciated, especially if they’re someone of authority.
Tell them what you like about their suggestion, maybe a certain aspect of it that really stood out. Once you’ve done the groundwork, gently point out what part of it you think might not work and why.
Suggest an Alternative
When you’re disagreeing with someone’s suggestion, don’t just give feedback -– suggest an alternative as well. Have a couple of pointers of what might work better and bring it up during your discussion.
It’s best if you can find a way to integrate both sides and come up with a consolidated strategy. However, if your alternative is on a completely different tangent, then be prepared to justify why you think this will work better.
Focus on Results
Reiterate a few times how the purpose of your disagreement is not to diss the other person, but simply to drive results for your business. Ultimate you are all working towards a common goal and bringing that up might soften the blow a little.
Even if your suggestion is not taken, respect the ultimate decision made by your boss or your colleague – it’s all about team spirit, after all.