How to Handle Your Boss with an Opposing Viewpoint on a Topic, which is Your Expertise?

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

Here is the background story of this situation. I have started working with a startup in a part-time project management role. The CEO asked me to prepare a presentation on the “Hybrid workplace.” He is hiring new freshers and wants to do a Bootcamp for them.

Fresh graduates will get to know different topics from the corporate world. It will help them with an easy transition from college to corporate life.
As he assigned me this task, he mentioned I was the right person to deliver this talk. It is because I have been working remotely for the past five years.

Hence, I would know different challenges and best practices for remote work. This is a correct statement, as I have developed the best strategies to perform well with remote working.

I created a few slides on this topic and shared them with the CEO for his feedback.

The feedback from him was like an eye-opener for me. I think I got to know him a bit more with this interaction. It became clear, that he wanted me to speak on this subject, but he did not believe in the hybrid work model.

It looked as if his feedback was less on the slides but more on my remote working style. Maybe he did not like some of my decisions, and it looked like he was giving me a hidden warning through that feedback.

I did not agree with his feedback or mindset on the topic “Hybrid Workplace.” But, as I had to present this topic to the audience, which are his employees, I felt the presentation needed to be in sync with the message driven by the CEO.

It is challenging for me to deliver a message to a group of people when I am not convinced about the message myself. So, during the day, I made some changes to the slides and removed the parts where my content would not agree with my beliefs.

But still, it feels like walking on a tightrope. But I know I would never fall from my belief system. Also, I would try to avoid confrontation with my Boss as much as possible. Though we disagree on a few things, I know he is a nice person.

As an entrepreneur, I also understand his desire to set his company’s culture according to his vision. And I should respect his differences in opinion. And my two decades of work experience has taught me that every situation does not need a knee-jerk reaction. Although my earlier self would have reacted sharply to this situation. As I mentioned in my earlier blog “Do Not Give Up on Your People so Quickly”, my mindset is now seeing a subtle shift in this entrepreneurship journey.

“10% of conflict is due to difference in opinion and 90% is due to delivery and tone of voice.”

Today is the D (Delivery)-Day for this presentation, so I will get to know how I handled this conflicting situation in front of the new hires.

My Boss thinks that the hybrid working model is a temporary solution and is not efficient. I’m afraid I have to disagree with this. I have worked mainly in remote mode for the past few years. I worked in a setup where all my colleagues were working remotely, and there was no physical office. I had never met my colleagues in person. I met my ex-boss only once in 5 years.

Interestingly, the current conflicting situation with my Boss has helped me a bit to get answers to some strange behaviors that I observed in this organization.

There is a slack channel where people only put “Good Morning” and “Goodbye” messages.

I always thought that it was such a waste of Slack channel use. We are just putting a piece of useless information here. I thought, maybe this is how colleagues bond together in this company.

Today the CEO or my Boss revealed that this helps track when a person’s logging in and logging out time.

Whaaattttttt, my mouth opened wide — well, that was my expression on hearing this statement. I was thankful I was not on the video call with the CEO then. I felt like telling him — “Boss, this is a dumb way to track your employees.”

I could say a “Good Morning” message, move away from my laptop for the rest of the day, and then return just to say “Goodbye” in the evening. Thankfully I caught myself from saying such a thing. I wondered why employers couldn’t get over this attendance system, which is valid only for schools.

He mentioned that people working from home are always considered low performers compared to those working from the office.

Whaaattttttt, I felt like I was sitting at a dentist’s clinic where I had to keep my mouth open for a long time, and it hurts too. :-)

According to him, the employees in the office will always take on additional tasks and be more productive during the day. I failed to understand his logic.

Task allocation is a manager’s responsibility. They know which team member has enough bandwidth to take on a new task. It seems my Boss thinks that being remote is equivalent to being out of sight, out of mind. But how can a manager forget his team members working remotely? I would consider them lousy managers if they have no idea what their remote team members are working on.

One recent example is when my Boss messaged me on Slack to prepare for this presentation. He could have easily given this task to a person sitting beside him.

He mentioned that the person working from home needs to come to the office for some days within 30 or 45 days.

The organization will bear only 50% of travel and lodging expenses for these people. I have never heard of such a policy in my entire career. But then I also tell myself that this hybrid work model was also not there in my earlier workdays.

I strongly feel that the organization should bear the expenses if a person needs to be onsite for office work (in this case, the office premises). If the company is reaping the benefit of less infrastructure and operational costs due to this hybrid model, then they should spend that money on travel and lodging of their employees’ onsite travel.

Maybe we will see more of these strange policies in the future. The Remote and Hybrid work culture has disrupted the existing HR policies, so we need to shift our mindset towards such policies that looked weird earlier.

Although the whole conversation started with the feedback comments on my presentation, I learned about my managers’ viewpoint on the hybrid work model.

I felt it was a good situation as otherwise, he would not have shared his opinions on the Hybrid workplace with these details.

I also understand that our viewpoints have an 180-degree conflict, so we might not be working together for long, but now I do not need to confront him for his perspective. Two mature people can have conflicts and still work together, provided they do not bring this conflict into their work and learn to disagree respectfully.

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.” — Taylor Swift

Wishing you a great week and hope you successfully handle the conflicting situations at work.

The next article will be published at weekly intervals. If you like my article please give me a follow 😇 or simply send me some claps and feedback.

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Anju Aggarwal

Anju Aggarwal

A budding entrepreneur journalling her in-progress startup journey. Expertise in Products, projects & Process management in the IT domain.