Part 1 is a great start to the discussion about disagreeing with the boss. Although Mark touched on it in the podcast about the point of view of the manager, I wonder if there will be a Manager Tools podcast about  "Dealing with direct disagreement?"

So far, Mark has stated to not disagree in a public forum with your boss. How would the situation be dealt with if the boss asks if there is any disagreement in the group at the end of a presentation or statement? In that respect, it seems like the boss is opening themselves up for public disagreement and perhaps putting their role in question. I have had a few bosses that have welcomed disagreement in group meetings. However they didn't start asking that until their role was well established and they knew their directs. Perhaps that is the trick.

430jan's picture

I never ask my directs for "disagreement" in a public venue.  Because  --  1) It is disingenuous. I don't want to hear from most people that would disagree with me in public. They are usually a pain in the neck (we're open enough to be honest here, right???) 2) It eliminates true input from those that may have a great idea but are just too timid to give it in public.

When I am in a public meeting I usually phrase it this way "I hire people that protect each other. I'm asking for that protection out of you. There may be things that I am missing and I need to know it by 'insert date'. If there is an area that I am vulnerable in this plan I am asking that you help watch my back and let me know (insert what you want to know). That's not asking for blatant disagreement, but it does result in people helping me not to make a big mistake. If I have a relationship with my directs (and I do), then they will respond to this request because my success is theirs and vice-versa.

I would be EXTREMELY resistant to offering disagreement in public. Your boss may be all over it with encouragement and support but the minute you disagree in public you are wandering far out on a limb. You have stated your case (opposite the boss's) in public and your boss is just as likely to cut you off at the knees as welcome your input. It is a gross generalization, but it is also true that most bosses don't like to be shown up in public. For that matter, does anybody?

I haven't listened to podcast yet, but I think this probably supported by the M's. If it isn't...well that's my take.