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How to PERSUADE Your Boss

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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He's smart, quick on his feet, and has power. All attempts to persuade him have failed. You could just give in—after all you've tried, and he is the boss. If he wants something a certain way, then fine.

But, deep in your heart you know you're right. You care. It matters. Others are counting on you. Try again and PERSUADE him to your point of view.

Of course, every boss is different. Understand and play to their style. I've had lots of bosses over the years, and am constantly being persuaded by those I lead.

Here are eight time-tested approaches to consider.

P - Private

Whatever you do don't confront him in front of your peers, his peers, or the team. You get the picture. Take the discussion offline.

E - Emotion

Let your passion inspire your argument, but don't emote. Stay calm. Appeal to his heart and mind, but don't wear your heart on your sleeve. It might help to tell a story, but think it through first. Overly emotional appeals will weaken your argument.

R - Research

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Do your homework. Prepare for questions. Do the math. Do more math. Do the math his way. Poke holes. If he doesn't like math, collect stories. Do more math—just in case.

S - Share

Share your concern frankly. Speak your truth. Share why you are concerned for the business. Have several supporting points.

U - Understand

Listen CAREFULLY. The boss has broader perspective and more context. Learn as much as you can. Hear him out completely and suspend judgment. Then listen some more.

A - Acknowledge

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Appreciate his point of view. He's likely not a jerk. He's got pressures too. Understand them. Learn all you can. Consider deeply.

D - Data

If you're still convinced, bring on the data. Build graphs. Show correlations. Draw pictures. Find stories. Benchmark with the best.

E - Engage

Engage your supporting team. For me, this usually means finance. These folks are more reasonable than you think. Convince others to care about your point of view. Get a light murmur of whispers headed to support your cause in their own words.

Your turn: How do you persuade the boss?

About the Author

Karin Hurt, founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has more than two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc.'s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.

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