Merge's Blog

If you want a stronger relationship with your manager, don’t correct him in front of others

Earlier this week, I resurrected a topic that I’ve covered in the past, specifically some ideas on how to build a stronger working relationship with your manager.  Monday’s post was about putting yourself in the boss’s shoes.

Don’t correct your boss in front of others

Building a better working relationship with your manager

Today is a “don’t” – something you should never do – which is, correct your boss in front of others.  Now I’m not saying that your manager is always right (that’s simply not possible!), nor am I saying that you shouldn’t correct him; what I am saying is choose the time and place to advise him of his error.  And the time and place is always later, privately.

Going back to Monday’s post for a moment, put yourself in the boss’s shoes.  It can be embarrassing to be corrected by a subordinate (or for that matter anyone) in front of other people.  This is true even if what you are saying is a legitimate correction.  And embarrassing your boss is simply not the way to build a positive relationship with your manager, let alone a good career move for you.  Far more intelligent to mention his mistake to him after people leave.  Plus, choosing the right place and time establishes you as an accomplished professional.

But what if the error is critical to the conversation?

So what happens if the error is critical to the conversation?  Should you still wait till later?  The short answer is “yes”, at least most of the time.  For the rare occasion that does warrant immediate rectification, find a self-deprecating or indirect way to bring it to your manager’s attention.  For example: “I believe you may not have the updated numbers yet, here is what I was told just before I came into the room.”

So I’ve got one more tip in this series to share with you next week, but for now, I’m interested in your reaction to this one.  Do you agree with me?  Should you correct your boss in private, or are there good reasons to do it publicly?  Would love to hear your perspective.

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