Bob Goldman

I don't know what you're thinking right now, but whatever it is -- I disagree. 

You heard me right. I think you're wrong. 

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Now that I've said it, I'll bet you're totally impressed. You feel a profound admiration for my willingness to tell you that you're a stupid idiot. You think I'm courageous and principled and exactly the kind of person you'd like to promote. 

And you'd be right.

It was only recently that I decided to replace my agreeable, mindless self with a me who speaks his mind. Instead of agreeing with anyone who signs my paycheck, I'm taking the advice of Joann S. Lublin, a careers reporter for The Wall Street Journal. That's right! I'm speaking truth to power. According to Lublin, who is never wrong, arguing with your boss could be "a winning career strategy."

Citing the popular myth that "managers who butt heads with the boss fail to get ahead," Lublin quotes Kenton R. Hill, an executive coach, who believes "it takes courage and emotional intelligence to stand up to your boss."

In my experience, it also takes a few Singapore Slings at the Kit Kat Klub, but be careful you don't have more than six. At this point, you're boss is still wrong, but you probably can't remember his name or yours.

It does take skill and guile if you are going to go public with your intelligent opinion of the boss's moronic one. One tip provided by Lublin's experts is to "use 'I' statements to describe the problem. For example, say 'I don't feel this project is going as well as it could,' instead of 'You aren't doing this right.'"

An "I" statement is certainly better than a "You" statement, but if you're really intelligent, you'll use a "He" statement. As in "He doesn't think this project is going as well as it could." This way, you deliver the message, and you can wait to see the boss's reaction before following up with a "We" statement, such as "Frankly, I think he's dead wrong. We really should fire him."

If you are a recent hire and find yourself tempted to use your experience at your last job to argue about the way things are done at your new job, remember that you weren't hired for your experience. You were hired because no one else was willing to do so much work for so little money. Save your arguments for your next job, which considering the way you're thinking, will probably be coming up in the very near future. 

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

Be the first to read Bob Goldman's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.