Advertising
Advertising

Career Hints – 5 ways to overcome a disagreement with your supervisor

Career Hints – 5 ways to overcome a disagreement with your supervisor

Most of us have experienced a disagreement with our supervisor at some point in our careers. While these events may seem traumatic at the time, the reality is that if you handle the situation correctly it may actually be beneficial, because our actions show that we can negotiate our way through difficult situations and arrive at mutually acceptable outcomes.

1. Define the problem

Have you ever had one of those moments where you argue about everything except the issue in question? You’re certainly not alone.

When you’re in a position of disagreement, the first and most important thing to do is to take a moment to reflect and identify the core issue(s). Be objective; sit down with a piece of paper and write out everything you think is an issue, then rank the most to least important. The real issue is usually looking right back at you from the top of the list.

notepad-411030_640

    External validation is valuable. Find a trusted colleague or friend, explain the situation, and show them the top three items on your list. Ask what they would focus on, and listen hard to their answers to decide if you’d change your ranking.

    Advertising

    Sometimes the list technique also helps us to understand that we’re just over-reacting and there is no core problem that needs to be addressed. If so, perhaps having a discussion with your trusted colleague or friend is a good idea. They may have some insights to share.

    Remember, 90% of conflict is just inadequate or ineffective communication. By defining the problem, you may find that you’re just not communicating well; a relatively easy and short term problem to fix.

    2. Find Common Ground

    “I think in most relationships that have problems, there’s fault on both sides. And in order for it to work, there has to be some common ground that’s shared. And it’s not just one person making amends.” – Michael Gary Scott from “The Office”.

    For every two things you and your supervisor disagree on there are probably twenty that you actually do agree on. Focus on the common ground first, then start talking about the points of disagreement in a safe and private forum, rather than just going into whatever it is that’s making you feel reactive.

    Often the points of agreement mediate the points of disagreement; for example, you may not agree on a specific item of the dress code, but you do agree on the need for the company to be professional and successful. Bring out your support for professionalism as a mediating factor for your disagreement about the item of clothing and the conversation will be more productive. Who knows? Maybe both parties can find things they can change.

    Advertising

    3. See the Other Point of View

    “The war… was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forbearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides.” – General Lee.

    Your supervisor has a point of view. By actively listening to them express that point of view, you are signaling a willingness to listen and engage, as well as a respect for their authority. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but you do need to listen and take their view into account.

    prismatic-736578_640

      If you’ve already identified what you believe the core problem is, you might test the waters to see if your supervisor agrees with your number one issue being the primary area of concern. If they don’t, then you need to add their concerns to the list of issues you made to consider their points.

      4. Set Boundaries

      “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

      ball-sports-443274_640

        There are things you and your supervisor will not agree on. These usually include illegal situations such as sexual harassment and discrimination, but you may have ethical boundaries of your own that you simply cannot cross. Know what these are, and keep them in the forefront of your mind as you talk to your supervisor.

        5. Escalate if Absolutely Necessary

        “Between an uncontrolled escalation and passivity, there is a demanding road of responsibility that we must follow.” – Dominique de Villepin

        Most companies offer several ways of resolving conflict between supervisors and workers, including employee assistance programs (EAP), human resources intervention, and even third party mediators, that can all be valuable resources when you feel like you are “stuck”.

        I rarely recommend going “up the chain” to your supervisor’s supervisor because this can be seen as an aggressive move that puts your supervisor into the complex position of having to manage both you and their boss – a situation sure to cause conflict in itself.

        Advertising

        Employees often do well to start with an off the record discussion with their Employee Assistance Program to help them frame their thoughts, before working with human resources to address the issue. The only exception to this case is when you believe something illegal is occurring in which case it is your obligation to notify HR or your internal compliance officer immediately.

        The role of HR is to take both the company’s and the employee’s interests and attempt to mediate a mutually acceptable solution wherever possible. It’s a complex role where you can’t make everyone happy, and skillful practitioners are in high demand.

        Remember your HR representative is a person who should be treated with respect if you expect them to work on your behalf.  Outbursts of emotion should be checked at the door, and your best chance of resolution is being seen as willing to work with your supervisor to find mutually acceptable outcomes.

        To Sum Up

        “Human beings are born solitary, but everywhere they are in chains – daisy chains – of interactivity. Social actions are makeshift forms, often courageous, sometimes ridiculous, always strange. And in a way, every social action is a negotiation, a compromise between ‘his,’ ‘her’ or ‘their’ wish and yours.” – Andy Warhol

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Advertising

        More by this author

        Colin Rhodes

        Chief Technology Officer

        travel 12 Dos and Don’ts of Air Travel For Conscientious Travellers 5 Ways To Have A More Productive Doctor’s Visit Life Secrets of a Barista Why You Should Be Tracking Your Health in a Personal Health Record agreeement Career Hints – 5 ways to overcome a disagreement with your supervisor

        Trending in Career Advice

        110 Job Search Tools Every Jobseekers Need To Know About 210 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 350 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry 4If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People 5How To Climb Up Your Career Ladder Faster Than Others In A Big Corporate.

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on August 20, 2018

        Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What

        Quit Your Job If You Don’t Like It, No Matter What

        Do you know that feeling? The one where you have to wake up to go to your boring 9-5 job to work with the same boring colleagues who don’t appreciate what you do.

        I do, and that’s why I’ve decided to quit my job and follow my passion. This, however, requires a solid plan and some guts.

        The one who perseveres doesn’t always win. Sometimes life has more to offer when you quit your current job. Yes, I know. It’s overwhelming and scary.

        People who quit are often seen as ‘losers’. They say: “You should finish what you’ve started”.

        I know like no other that quitting your job can be very stressful. A dozen questions come up when you’re thinking about quitting your job, most starting with: What if?

        Advertising

        “What if I don’t find a job I love and regret quitting my current job?”
        “What if I can’t find another job and I get in debt because I can’t pay my bills?”
        “What if my family and friends judge me and disapprove of the decisions I make?”
        “What if I quit my job to pursue my dream, but I fail?

        After all, if you admit to the truth of your surroundings, you’re forced to acknowledge that you’ve made a wrong decision by choosing your current job. But don’t forget that quitting certain things in life can be the path to your success!

        One of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford:

        If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

        Everything takes energy

        Everything you do in life takes energy. It takes energy to participate in your weekly activities. It takes energy to commute to work every day. It takes energy to organize your sister’s big wedding.

        Advertising

        Each of the responsibilities we have take a little bit of our energy. We only have a certain amount of energy a day, so we have to spend it wisely.  Same goes for our time. The only things we can’t buy in this world are time and energy. Yes, you could buy an energy drink, but will it feel the same as eight hours of sleep? Will it be as healthy?

        The more stress there is in your life, the less focus you have. This will weaken your results.

        Find something that is worth doing

        Do you have to quit every time the going gets touch? Absolutely not! You should quit when you’ve put everything you’ve got into something, but don’t see a bright future in it.

        When you do something you love and that has purpose in your life, you should push through and give everything you have.

        I find star athletes very inspiring. They don’t quit till they step on that stage to receive their hard earned gold medal. From the start, they know how much work its going to take and what they have to sacrifice.

        Advertising

        When you do something you’re really passionate about, you’re not in a downward spiral. Before you even start you can already see the finish line. The more focus you have for something, the faster you’ll reach the finish.

        It is definitely possible to spend your valuable time on something you love and earn money doing it. You just have to find out how — by doing enough research.

        Other excuses I often hear are:

        “But I have my wife and kids, who is going to pay the bills?”
        “I don’t have time for that, I’m too busy with… stuff” (Like watching TV for 2 hours every day.)
        “At least I get the same paycheck every month if I work for a boss.”
        “Quitting my job is too much risk with this crisis.”

        I understand those points. But if you’ve never tried it, you’ll never know how it could be. The fear of failure keeps people from stepping out of their comfort zone.

        Advertising

        I’ve heard many people say, “I work to let my children make their dream come true”. I think they should rephrase that sentence to: “I pursue my dreams — to inspire and show my children anything is possible.” 

        Conclusion

        Think carefully about what you spend your time on. Don’t waste it on things that don’t brighten your future. Instead, search for opportunities. And come up with a solid plan before you take any impulsive actions.

        Only good things happen outside of your comfort zone.

        Do you dare to quit your job for more success in life?

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Read Next