Communication Overtones asks “What do you do when you are sure you are right about something but your boss won’t listen to you?” Any manager worth his salt knows to surround himself with talent that will compliment his own skills - he will draw from the experts around him to formulate his plans and direction.

Experienced managers also learn to trust their own instinct even when the advice from the experts is contrary. So what do you do when your manager has decided to go with their own judgement even though you are sure they’re wrong. After all, you’re being paid for exactly what you are bringing to the table, so where is the sense in overriding your recommendation?

There are a few ways to proceed:

  1. Insist on your course of action and hold your ground until your manager is forced to reconsider.

  2. Back down - the manager is in effect your client, and you can lead a horse to water but not necessarily get them to drink.

  3. Plant the seed.

Plant the Seed By “planting the seed”, I mean be subtle about your course of action. Let your manager know what you are thinking and leave it at that. It will get at them subconsciously until they come at you weeks later with a great new idea that sounds suspiciously like the one you had brought forward.

Be Patient When you plant seeds, you need to be aware that it takes time for your point of view to enter your boss’ mindset. Depending on the concept and its complexity, it could take months for this passive approach to take effect. You could say this technique only works for non-critical ideas, but that isn’t necessarily true - it only works if you have enough patience to let your course of action sit.

Let It Go Because this technique is a passive method for subordinates to get what they want out of higher-ups, you need to be prepared to let your idea get overridden. If your manager truly sees fit not to invest in your idea and you can’t make them come around to your point of view then your two options are either to put your ego aside and accept it so you can move on, or find another manager/company who want to run with it.