Get your voice heard – without tiptoeing after

If you decided to challenge your boss, board, or team and give it a go, here are some tips I have found to be useful.

In the previous blog post, I wrote about preparing yourself for the challenging. So you’ve got your basics covered, you know how yourself react on things, you’re aware of possible cultural challenges and cognitive bias. Well done! Now, let’s prepare your case!

Use Facts

Do you know the KPIs that are used to measure your bosses/teams/unit performance? Usually, those are the ones shown on monthly meetings or the famous traffic light slides. When building on your case, facts are good ground for it. If you can calculate the effect of your suggestions, it’s more likely to get it accepted. The most common financial metrics can be found here.

We often argue on behalf of employee satisfaction. Unfortunately, regardless of how important that is, it’s a lousy choice for an argument due to the difficulties of measuring. I’m well aware some will disagree with me on this. My argument here is this: how do you measure the impact of organized yoga or art class or cruise? What is the expected increase in the metrics?

When building your case answer at least two of the following:

  • What can we earn more?
  • How much can we save?
  • What kind of added value can we create?

Additionally, prefer long term solutions and avoid kick fixes and hacks.

Who is the person behind the title you’re talking to?

Start thinking about your audience. Is it a person or team? How do they present themselves when they are seen in meetings or company events? What do you know about them?

Since by now, you’re found out your rection models, compare if they seem to be an easy or hard audience for yours. If the person reacts with your balancer, he/she might get to your nerves before you know it.

I react with action, and my balancer is feeling. This means I’m at times in trouble with the people feeling. It seems like it takes for ages for them to get to the point after all the small talk they have to present before the actual thing. Some people find my tempo of doing things horrifying and approach bluntly and too direct. Unless I want to appear ruthless and unpolite (or just as typical Finn :-)), this is also something I need to consider when discussing with others.


If you have a temper, as I have at times, the challenging happens right on that spot, without any preparation or further thinking. From my experience, I’d say you get a better result if you confront the person one on one.

If though you’re sitting in the same meeting and challenging is something is asked for, I recommend you to do that. Just keep your calm.

If you want to give feedback or challenge on a matter that is not time-critical, have a look at your boss’s timetable, and try to make an appointment to the slot where it’s most convenient, if possible. Prefer mornings since you’re most likely to have that spot, and no other meeting drags on and runs it over. And instead, use less time than you booked.

Sale your solution, don’t underline the problem

If you have a problem – present two pre-evaluated solutions. Ex-colleague of mine, a Sales Guru told me ones: when you’re selling your solutions. It’s always easier to pick from 2 than 1 or 3 ?.

Use the classic; it’s not you, it’s me. When you are in the conversation, don’t start finger-pointing. Let your boss know how their behavior impacts you. For example, “I would benefit from your support ” Or “I would appreciate more autonomy in..”

If you have criticism or you want to challenge the person, also find positive feedback that you can give, and always finish with something positive.

I hope you decided to speak up!