What to Say When Your Boss Is Wrong

boss is wrong


Let’s be honest—receiving constructive criticism is hard. However, when it’s helpful, you’re reassured that your boss cares enough to invest in you, and you can use the feedback to grow.


On the other hand, what if you’re given bad feedback that seems completely false?


Say your manager tells you that you need to work on attendance & punctuality—when you’ve never once been late to work?


There’s nothing quite as dumbfounding as when you’re told you’re failing in areas you thought you’d been excelling.


What should you do?


  • Ask for examples. Maybe something you’re doing is not what your manager expects. Or, perhaps you’ve just lacked awareness of your shortcomings. Regardless, ask them for a specific example of what they’re describing—to bring some clarity to the table. And if your manager can’t think of an example, then request that negative feedback to be offered in real-time.


  • Say thanks. Even if your manager really does have the wrong read, or is blowing something minor out of proportion—remember—they’re (hopefully) giving you feedback because they want you to develop, succeed, and are invested in you. Tell your manager you had no idea of the behavior, and you appreciate it being brought to your attention.


  • Respectfully disagree. Disagreeing with your supervisor can fill you with anxiety—what makes it worse is if you seem defensive & unreceptive to their constructive criticism. The key? Make sure you have proof to back you up. Don’t forget to include an example that shows your manager’s differing perspective—to ensure that your response is realistic.


  • Ask questions. By asking one or two follow up questions, you appear less defensive by showing that you’re open to discussing the “perceived behavior.” It also shows that you’re open to your manager’s opinion & further feedback—and that you’re willing to hear ideas on how to succeed going further.


It’s never easy when you’re not on the same page as your boss. The most important thing to do in these sticky situations is to communicate—it’s like any relationship! The more you’re able to stay on the same wavelength and can discuss hiccups like these, the smoother sailing you’ll both have.


Questions? Call us!


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