Navigating Thoughts and Emotions in the Workplace: How to Handle Disagreements with Your Manager

Benjamin Bonetti Therapy Online Coaching

At some point in our professional lives, we may find ourselves in a situation where we believe our manager is wrong, which can evoke feelings of anger and frustration.

It's essential to address these thoughts and emotions effectively to maintain a healthy work environment and foster positive professional relationships. This article explores strategies for navigating disagreements with your manager, while managing your thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner.

Understanding Your Thoughts and Emotions

Before addressing the disagreement with your manager, it's important to first understand your thoughts and emotions.

Reflect on the reasons behind your disagreement and the feelings it evokes.

This self-awareness will help you approach the situation more objectively and constructively.

  1. Identify Your Feelings: Recognise and label the emotions you're experiencing, such as anger, frustration, or disappointment.

  2. Analyse Your Thoughts: Consider the thoughts that have led you to believe your manager is wrong. Are they based on facts, or are they influenced by your emotions?

  3. Assess the Situation: Evaluate the context and potential consequences of your disagreement. Is it a matter of differing opinions, or is there a significant impact on the project or team?

Strategies for Addressing Disagreements with Your Manager

Once you have a clear understanding of your thoughts and emotions, you can approach the situation with your manager using the following strategies:

  1. Choose the Right Time and Place: Find a private, neutral setting to discuss the disagreement, and avoid bringing it up during high-stress situations or in front of colleagues.

  2. Use "I" Statements: When expressing your thoughts and feelings, use "I" statements to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, say "I feel frustrated because I believe this approach might not be effective" instead of "You're wrong, and your approach will fail."

  3. Offer Solutions: Rather than merely pointing out the issue, propose alternative solutions or ideas that can address the disagreement and benefit the project or team.

  4. Be Open to Feedback: Acknowledge that your perspective might not be the only valid one and be open to listening to your manager's point of view. This openness fosters a more collaborative and respectful dialogue.

  5. Maintain Professionalism: Remember to stay calm and respectful during the conversation, even if emotions run high. Maintaining professionalism will help ensure a productive discussion and preserve your working relationship.


Disagreements with managers can be challenging to navigate, but by understanding your thoughts and emotions and employing effective communication strategies, you can address the situation constructively.

This approach not only helps resolve disagreements but also fosters a more positive and collaborative work environment. 

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Professional References:
  1. Tannen, D. (2000). Talking from 9 to 5: Women and men at work. William Morrow Paperbacks.

  2. Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam.

  3. Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (1999). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most. Penguin.

  4. Rogers, C. R., & Farson, R. E. (1957). Active listening. Industrial Relations Center of the University of Chicago.

  5. Gottman, J. M., & DeClaire, J. (2001). The relationship cure: A 5-step guide to strengthening your marriage, family, and friendships. Harmony.