Chapter 12. Surfacing Dissent above You

Even if a manager is successful in surfacing dissent in himself and with his employees and colleagues, if his boss continues to operate in an underground manner, it will be difficult to innovate. This chapter will discuss how a manager can influence his boss to surface dissent.

Surfacing Dissent with your Boss

The previous chapter asked you to undertake some difficult actions to surface dissent. But these actions are easier than what we will discuss in this chapter. In surfacing underground dissent with your employees, you have the advantage of position power. With your colleagues, you are at least on a level playing field. But with your boss, the balance of power shifts against you. Your boss has more power and is typically used to wielding it. We will need to approach raising dissent with even greater caution.

If there is a lot of underground stuff with your boss, you know it's more important to look like you agree than discuss real issues. People won't speak up if there are problems: they wait to hear what the boss says. Loyalty is the top priority, even if it means slowing the group's ability to move ahead or come up with anything really new. If you want to surface dissent with your boss, you must raise issues directly with her, not fake agreement when you don't, or enthusiasm when you aren't.

There are times it's not worth doing because of the personal risks involved. But you know the effects of being forced to operate in an underground culture, ...

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