“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder”� — Rumi

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing a foreign national, and discussing a variety of things, including jobs in Cyprus, as well as bosses in Cyprus. Amongst other things, ‘J’ (who has worked in many different jobs) told Ergodotisi that the chances of having a hard headed boss, especially when working in a family business, are quite high. So how do you deal with it? Or, if you prefer, how do you deal with it successfully?

First of all, be objective about the facts

Don’t let emotion drive your decision. Don’t approach the situation only through your point of view, but have a look at it from your boss’s perspective. Furthermore, take a look at it from the shareholder’s point of view. This will help you see the big-picture.

Listen respectfully, then encourage a discussion

Instead of reflexively arguing point by point, first listen –and pay attention- to what the boss has to say. Listen to the whole announcement. The whole speech. Don’t interrupt. When the speech is over and there is nothing more to say, it will be easier for both of you to engage in a fruitful conversation about why you think it’s wrong.�

Ask the right questions

Ask about the reasoning behind the decision. Ask about the desired outcome. Ask whether the decision is based upon solid evidence or ‘educated’ assumptions. Discuss the possible side effects and the chance of backfiring. Deploy your concerns in a way that will make you look like the boss’s most useful employee.

Don’t ask about the rationale
. Don’t lose your temper. Don’t disagree publicly.
Who knows, you might even agree with the boss’s objectives. Then ask for a meeting, where you will get a chance to present your own plan that meets the boss’s objectives, whilst avoiding all the problems.

Develop your plan

Don’t start from scratch. Identify all the good parts from your boss’s plan and merge them into your own. This will help you save precious time, and increase your chances of convincing your boss as you share ‘ownership’ of the plan. Then build on that basis. Get creative. Ask people from your company to give you some feedback, as you may not be aware of all the procedures that are needed in order for your plan to work properly. Then check if your plan can practically work with trusted advisors, or any mentors you might have. They might be able to improve it by cutting expenses, by informing you about other more effective ways, or give you a feedback about your revenue timeline.

Present your plan

You only have one shot, so make it count. Be prepared for any possible questions and have precise answers. Know everything you need to know, don’t get caught off guard. Don’t fill your presentation with minor and boring details. Instead, hand a hard copy of your presentation including more analysis and all needed information. While presenting, mind your body language and the tone of your voice, as these are far more important for the delivery of your message, than your verbal communication. Remember; your boss will first ‘buy’ into you, and then your plan, so be enthusiastic.�

Don’t get frustrated if you don’t succeed

Agree on following the boss’s plan on a test basis. Remember; be objective. Write down your comments for every part of the procedure. Ask other employees from your company that are not directly affected by your boss’s plan, and don’t have anything to gain from your plan, to help you with the evaluation.  At the end of your evaluation, if you still believe that the plan is not adequate enough, have a word with your boss, informing about the results of your testing. If you still can’t be persuasive enough, and if your boss’s plan is not somehow violating law or ethics, at least you will feel good about making a strong case against a decision you don’t believe in.

Don’t forget that everybody is judged by the results so your case is not a lost cause yet!

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Posted by Antonis Papadopoulos

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