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Topics: Governance
How to Disagree with a Superior? Recommendations?
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Recommendations especially for those new to Project Management!
George -

Let data drive the discussion but position it based on a deep understanding of your superior's style, drivers and objectives. But, it's crucial to know when to stop disagreeing - it's one thing to make your voice heard but it's lethal to antagonize your superior, especially if they hold grudges.

Gather support or team up, supported by data of course.
Simply let the facts tell the story.
Understand your audience, respectfully conveying reason to disagree, and how it connects with either the mission or strategic direction (if applicable)
It depends on the culture you are in and on the personality of the leader. Hofstede introduced the Power Distance Index (PDI) and analysed many national cultures. With a high PDI, the national culture almost inhibits criticizing superiors (e.g. Albania has 90). In a low PDI country, this is not a problem at all (e.g. Sweden with 31).

This PDI expresses the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The fundamental issue here is how a society handles inequalities among people.
1 reply by Stephanie Jaeger
Jan 22, 2018 2:43 AM
Stephanie Jaeger
I agree with you. I would also add a second level of the PDI in your company seen in the context of your country.
Best strategy is Agree to Disagree with your superior. Show facts, explain clearly and do not make them feel they are wrong until you prove your point. Be Diplomatic.
I think that it is a good idea to offer an alternative ; 'I disagree on this but how about doing that ' ?
This will show that you want to cooperate but you just do not agree on that particular issue.
Good feedback fom the group.

Sometimes all you can do is disagree for the record and end it there if you feel that nothing will change no matter what you say. The main thing is you were not silent and said something.
Understand human psychology and an individual's motivations and you will go a long way to present opposing opinions. Also, sometimes it isn't so much the fact you will disagree with a superior, but how you come across when disagreeing. The packaging is often kinder to the eyes than the gift!
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"Of course the music is a great difficulty. You see, if one plays good music, people don't listen, and if one plays bad music, people don't talk."

- Oscar Wilde