Share this content
work disagreement
iStock_shironosov_work disagreement

How to Respectfully Disagree With Managers


One of the facts of being on a team at an accounting firm is that occasionally, decisions won’t go the way you want them to. Whether you were a part of the decision-making process or the decision was handed down to you, you may be responsible for ensuring the rest of the team carries it out.

Perhaps the natural reaction in this situation is to make it known to your team that you don’t believe this is the right way to go. But that’s the wrong way to approach it.

Jan 26th 2021
Share this content

You may disagree with a situation at your firm behind closed doors, but as a leader you need to be part of putting on a unified front. To do otherwise can spread poison within your firm.

Do you find that tough to do? Here are a few tips for handling practice management decisions you don’t agree with:

Ask if You Trust Your Firm’s Leaders

You may disagree with how they handle a particular situation, but know deep down that they have good intentions and only want what’s best for the firm. If you don’t trust them – or the decision is unethical or illegal – you may be working for the wrong firm.

Consider Whether the Decision is Actually a Good One

Why did the firm leadership make the decision they did? If you were part of the process, you may have access to all of the same facts and statistics they did. Otherwise, consider whether there are other factors you’re unaware of. Maybe they’ve dealt with a similar issue in the past.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who believes deeply in the decision that was made. Why did they make this choice? Consider where the firm will be in three, five or 10 years as a result of this choice. Ultimately, if you trust the decision was made with good intentions and the best information available, you can throw your support behind it.

Get Your Team on Board

The ultimate success or failure of any firm initiative depends on how much buy-in there is from the people actually doing the work. If you champion the project and show your team you believe it in, they’ll put more effort into helping it succeed.

Resist the temptation to make statements like, “Well, Kristin thinks we should do it this way.” And be aware of non-verbal cues like sighing or eye rolling. Halfhearted or even hostile expressions show people you’re not fully on board, and they’re less likely to buy in as well.

Understand Every Change Can Face Difficulties

Even the best-laid plans sometimes encounter challenges. It might require more time, money or effort than the firm initially planned for. Don’t treat this as proof that you were right and everyone else was wrong. That’s like looking for reasons the project will fail. Committing to give your best effort means dealing with problems and looking for ways to overcome them.


Dealing with decisions you don’t agree with is something every team member has to deal with from time to time. Once the decision has been made, it’s not in your best interest to dissent or try to disrupt the plan.

While it may be difficult to adjust your expectations at first, do what you can to get on board. Get support from your team and make it happen. Your firm has a better chance of success in every endeavor with your support and hard work behind it.

The original article appeared on the Boomer Consulting site.

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.