I have a boss that keeps asking me for my opinion on a project. I have told him my opinion at least 3 times, and my opinion has not changed. The problem is that he doesn’t agree with my opinion, so I think he keeps asking to make me change my opinion. Now he doesn’t know what to do with me because of my attitude (differing opinion) of the project. He asked for my opinion about the project last night, and I told him what I thought. Then he proceeded to ask me again today. I responded this time with “Do whatever you want”, and “I told you my opinion yesterday”. That made him angry. Should I lie and say that his idea is the BEST? Maybe he will quit asking; seeming that he really doesn’t care anyway. Does it work to just agree?
Yuck, these situations are always hard. First rule of negoiating... "discuss the why, not the what." I'd also season that with business advice "overt is better then covert." You are speculating as to why he's asking you. your conclusion seems reasonable, but it it by no means certain. Talk with him. Say, "I've noticed you've been asking me my opinion multiple times. I get the feeling you are hoping my answer will change. What type of answer are you looking for [i]and why?[i] What problems do you see from the answer I'm giving?" The discussion will likely cover why you hold the opinion you do, but that is really secondary. It is important that you discuss what he sees as the impact of your decision, e.g. maybe his boss told him he needs to get all engineers to agree on a release date. Unforutnately, he may not be so forthcoming--he may not even be aware of his subsconious (i.e. indirect) need for your opinion to be what he wants it to be. It takes a while to develop the skills necessary to communite well with people like that; so you might as well get started learning those skills with this boss. Above all, never, never, never, never, never change your opinion just because someone else is unhappy about it. If you do, you will start to lose self-respect for your work. --Mark