Oftentimes when one feels that someone is questioning his or her knowledge or abilities he or she can get defensive without even realizing it. When one does this they are reacting rather than responding to the question. When one reacts, they sound argumentative to make their point. This demonstrates a lack control and confidence. On the other hand, when one responds positively, they will approach the situation much more successfully.
For example, your boss may tell you that he or she believes that a team should be micromanaged since the final outcome of the project falls on your shoulders, and during his or her comment you know right away that you disagree. First rule in this situation is to let your boss finish. The second rule is to respond, not to react.
A reaction may sound something like this: “Ms. Boss, I never micromanage a team. I think this way of managing is demeaning to others. If I had to micromanage others I would see this as my not having done my job correctly in the first place, by hiring people who would have to be micromanaged, or I have not have provided them with the necessary tools to do their effectively.”
A response may sound something like this: “Ms. Boss, I believe that oftentimes one has to be micromanaged in order to get the project done; however, I like to develop my team to be independent thinkers and decision makers, in a manner that is in alignment with the task at hand for the good of the project.”
Can you see how this answer did not say that your boss was wrong, yet you let it be known that this was not your approach to managing, yet did it without blatantly defying your bosses’ position?
So if you are ever faced with a situation for which you feel the need to react, remember that you have an option, to respond rather than react. And to effectively respond, you need to choose your words wisely and let your tone be one of sincerity and compassion, not intimidating and reactive.