Yahoo Finance: How to win an argument with your boss Michelle Gibbings

Read Michelle’s suggestions in this Yahoo Finance article she wrote recently about how to win an argument with your boss.

Some people love their boss, others hate them. But most will find their relationship lies somewhere in between, dotted by moments of both camaraderie and sheer irritation.

And while few will find themselves in an outright argument with their boss, it’s important to know how to handle the situation, and walk away with a resolution.

According to workplace expert Michelle Gibbings, the first thing to remember in an argument, is that no one wants to – or should – be having arguments with their boss.

“Try to never get into an argument with your boss because as soon as the conversation starts to get heated, both sides are no longer in a good place to continue the conversation,” she told Yahoo Finance.

“So if you can feel the heat or the intensity rising in the conversation and you can see it veering off course, often it’s worth disengaging in the conversation at that point and going back at a later date when you’re feeling calmer to continue the conversation.”

The big danger is that words said in an argument can be incredibly difficult to recover from, and you’re just generally not your best self.

Well-reasoned criticisms get twisted into barbs, and space for reflection is lost.

So, the first step is to avoid an argument at all costs.

But if you do have issues that need addressing, Gibbings has several tips.


“Firstly – and this will sound like a ridiculous suggestion – remember to breathe.

“What happens when we get stressed or anxious or overly passionate about the conversation is we don’t breathe deeply and when we don’t breathe deeply, it’s almost as though the emotional part of the brain is now running the show.”

Without breathing, the cool, logical part of the brain is left in the dust and emotions can continue to rise.

Ask questions

The second step is to ask questions.

“Seek to understand where your boss is coming from, because the more you understand where they’re coming from, the more you might learn.”

This way, you can shift the way you’re pitching your part of the conversation to better meet the ends your boss is trying to achieve.

Seek common ground

The key in “winning an argument” is to never approach an important discussion with a goal of winning.

Instead, constructive discussions are built around a desire to find common ground so you can both move forward positively.

“If you go in with the attitude of, ‘This is about me winning’, then you will often end up in a position where you may win the outcome of that conversation, but what you’ve done in the process is destroy your relationship with your boss,” Gibbings said.

“So always think long-term. You want to be in a position where you speak up, you put forward your point of view, but you need to do it in a way that’s respectful and a way that protects the relationship that you have with your boss.”

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