How to Resolve Conflict with Your Boss? What do you do when you don’t agree with your boss? Should you speak out?  In the following articles, Diane Amundson (one of our 2017 Showcase Speakers) gives us an example of a situation an employee was in and how she should handle it.

Meredith felt strongly about the direction she should take on orientating new employees to her department.  She felt that her new hires were not getting enough attention in their first week on the job and that a mentor should be assigned to them in addition to her working with them as her time and energy were being pulled in multiple directions.  Her boss could see the value in having mentors but did not want to invest in a process of developing them for new hires. 

Meredith was worried that all the time and money invested in recruiting, interviewing and orientating new hires would be lost as they were leaving her department after only a few weeks on the job.  She needed to find a way to bring up this issue again more convincingly and yet not overburden her boss who was stretched as well in her job.  What should she do?  How should she approach her boss differently this time?

As we all know, timing is everything.  Meredith’s boss has a lot on her plate and Meredith had already received a “no” to developing a mentorship process for new hires last week.  Meredith should consider the following steps:

  • She needs to open her mind to believe there may be other solutions than developing a mentorship process. 
  • Invite her boss to a brainstorming session around the problem without a hidden agenda of developing mentors but rather being open to anything. Allow for enough time to fully dialogue around the issue… a minimum of one hour.
  • Do her homework.  Gather the facts on the cost impact to her department and company with each employee that leaves. 
  • Find a quiet neutral location for her to brainstorm with her boss.
  • Start the conversation with an “I” statement to take ownership of how she feels such as the following. “I am feeling frustrated when new hires leave my department after only a few weeks or month on the job.” “Will you help me discover additional ways to retain them?”
  • Let her boss speak next in response to the question and capture what she is saying on paper so Meredith may paraphrase back what she heard.
  • She answers the worst possible outcome for her boss and herself if this problem is not resolved and asks her boss to answer the same question.
  • She answers the best possible outcome for her boss and herself if this issue is resolved and lets her boss answer the same question.
  • She commits to both best possible outcomes and asks her boss if she will do the same without knowing how they will do it yet.
  • She asks her boss for ideas on how to reach the best outcomes and Meredith adds her ideas as well.
  • She takes responsibility for those ideas she can accomplish and asks her boss to help with the others.
  • She asks for a time to come back in two weeks to see if the plan is working

Question for You:

Are you sitting on a conflict right now that you are unsure of how to proceed because it involves your boss?  Do you wonder which battles to take on and which to let go?

Action for You:

I realize there are twelve steps listed above and that not all conflicts need to be addressed. However, if finding a solution to these conflicts is critical to your success, and if by doing nothing, they create more stress, the issue should be confronted with your boss.  There is a way to find a resolution with a conflict and still maintain the relationship through these twelve steps.  You do not need everything to be perfect before confronting your boss but these steps will help create an environment where your odds of success increase with each step completed.

For more information on Diane, click here.

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