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How to Avoid Conflict with Your Boss?

Maia Haas

At work, to avoid a conflict can be a real difficulty; everyone is different and think differently. Conflicts and sometimes even confrontations can be productive in some cases, but there are also circumstances in which avoid a direct conflict is wiser, especially with your boss. Arguing with your boss can cost you your position or affect your future career’s expectations. Thus, to avoid a confrontation by using other methods to tackle it remains the best solution. Remember that you won’t have the last word with your boss because he is your superior, by definition. It implies that you have to respect him as well as your colleagues even if you don’t agree with some of them.

Sometimes, you can’t avoid a conflict with your boss. Remember that in this case, his point of view is totally different from yours. Even though you might think he is wrong, you have to put yourself in his shoes and try not to get angry at him. Ask yourself how your boss may perceive your actions and arguments. To try to understand the other person’s point of view can help you to control your responses and broach the situation with empathy and understanding. Ask your boss how he expects you to tackle the situation. If you ask him for advice, he might see you as someone who’s not looking for conflict, but as someone who wants to understand and learn from their mistakes. Moreover, his attitude toward you may improve.


Even if you think you’re right, don’t let your emotional responses control your behaviour during a conversation. If you response emotionally whether by speaking or by acting, the conflict may escalate to a confrontation between you and your hierarchy. Instead of showing anger, strong disagreement or any other negative emotion, try to deflect the comments of your boss by agreeing with him.

For example, if your supervisor criticizes you for not meeting your deadline during a project, just apologize and promise to get it to him as soon as possible. Don’t try to find reasons for acting as you did, because it will be perceived as an excuse for not meeting the deadline. Even if your supervisor is not professional at all, try to do your best and to be professional at all times.


You may have to face some risks if your boss answers defensively to criticism and takes all your disagreements as insubordinations. A direct confrontation is more likely to get you laid off than any other type of confrontation. Confronting with your boss repeatedly can also damage your reputation in your workplace, making harder to get promotions or to get any pay raises. Even if your boss may be laid off from his position, your reputation could still suffer if your colleagues and other managers perceive your actions as unprofessional. Trying to deal with difficult supervisors without confronting them will make you avoid suffering from any difficult situation.


Be open-minded and take into consideration the point of view of your supervisor. Ask questions to make sure you really understand what he wants or what the is reason of his complaint. Try to take into account that a conversation is a collaboration and not a confrontation in which both of you can find a solution and work properly together.

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