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How to stand up to your boss (without getting fired)

Tackle your workplace troubles head-on with these 5 tips.

shutterstock_583424317 Source: Shutterstock/Roman Samborskyi

STANDING UP TO your boss is never easy but your situation will never improve if you continue to let things slide.

If you’re feeling unfairly punished or put down by your superior, here are five tips to help you to stand up to your boss – without damaging your position in the company.

1. Arrange a private meeting

Grabbing a quick word or catching your boss at the end of a meeting is not the right setting for a serious and potentially confrontational chat. Ask for a proper one-on-one where you have adequate time and privacy to relay your points.

If you’re not comfortable disclosing the purpose of the meeting, feel free to keep it suitably vague, a general catch up should suffice.

2. Prepare yourself with examples

shutterstock_615258020 Source: Shutterstock/Branislav Nenin

Before you make any rash professional decisions, it’s good to take some time to clearly define what your issues are and how well you can articulate them. Don’t go in with all guns blazing and then not be able to back up your points with reasonable examples.

For instance you can’t claim that you’re not listened to in your role and then use an ignored lunchtime suggestion as your evidence.

Establish what you feel your main grievances are and then make a list of specific concrete examples which illustrate your point.

3. Watch your language

shutterstock_609063155 Source: Shutterstock/lipik

However valid your arguments may be, if you go on the offensive with tone or language you completely lose your credibility. When speaking to your boss about your frustrations try to keep the focus on your own feelings rather than their bad behaviour.

Use phrases like:

  • “I think that I respond best to feedback when it’s communicated privately.”
  • “I feel my performance would improve a lot if I had more autonomy over my work.”
  • “I believe that such high targets are not in our best interests and that reducing them would greatly boost morale and motivation in the team.”

Be so logical and level-headed that they have no choice but to take onboard what you’re saying.

4. Have a solution ready

shutterstock_258191285 Source: Shutterstock/Ruslan Grumble

Plucking up the courage to stand up to your boss and call them on their bad practices is all well and good but if you’re not bringing a solution to your list of problems, it’s basically pointless.

It’s crucial that you can make suggestions on how you and your boss can work together to find a resolution, and refrain from finger pointing.

5. Keep your complaining to a minimum

shutterstock_146186681 Source: Shutterstock/sirtravelalot

Resist the temptation to vent to your colleagues about your pain-in-the-ass-boss. Even if your coworkers instigate the bitching session, don’t indulge them.

It will do your case no good and likely earn you the reputation of being a bad egg. And nobody wants to be known as a bad egg.

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About the author:

Aoife Geary

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