What Will You Do When Your Boss Rejects Your Ideas?

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If you’re like many employees, you probably have a boss who says he wants new ideas, but then shoots down each proposal that you bring to him. As a result, you’re frustrated by such contradictory messages, and you’re wondering how to meet his expectations. What if there was a way to get your boss to buy into more of your recommendations?

Try these suggestions for preparing and presenting business ideas that others will want to support.

Tips for Recovering from Rejection

  1. Be objective. Assess any consequences from the previous proposals that your boss turned down. Resist the urge to take rejection personally, and give yourself credit for trying.
  2. Clarify priorities. Ask your boss if it’s worth submitting your proposal at a later time. If not, discuss where you need to be focusing your resources instead. Learn from experience. Taking risks is valuable, even when the results are different from what you intended. Ask your boss and colleagues for feedback that will help you to refine your efforts.
  3. Manage your emotions. It’s okay if you still feel a little down. Go for a run or talk things over with a friend.
  4. Stay positive. Avoid venting your frustrations at work. Show that you’re capable of looking at the big picture and making a valuable contribution to the team.

Tips for Preparing Your Ideas

  1. Listen to customers. Keeping up with market demands and customer requests will help make your proposals more compelling and relevant. After all, your employer wants to know how your ideas can help them to move forward.
  2. Build alliances. Develop support for your ideas before you present them. It may be easier to persuade your boss if they see that you have the backing of other coworkers or multiple departments.
  3. Understand the culture. Some organizations are more flexible than others. If innovation matters to you, make that part of your criteria for picking an employer.
  4. Start small. Minor victories can put you on the road to breakthroughs. Make your first proposal modest and low-risk, especially if you sense that your boss is hesitant to take chances.

Tips for Presenting Your Ideas

  1. Bring supporting evidence. Share your research with others, so they understand the purpose and potential of your ideas. Have answers ready for likely questions and objections. Attractive charts and tables can help too.
  2. Prepare alternatives. You may find that your boss and colleagues agree that changes would be beneficial, even if they decide not to adopt your initial approach. Have a few different options ready for discussion. Just having a slate to choose from can make others feel more confident about taking action.
  3. Show leadership. However, brilliant your ideas are, your boss will be thinking about how much time and work is required to implement them. Volunteer to take a primary role in bringing your concept to life, so your boss will know that it won’t be an excessive demand on them.
  4. Provide reassurance. While it’s natural to be enthusiastic about your ideas, keep in mind that your boss has valid reasons to be careful about how to allocate limited resources. Let them know you respect their judgment because having a stable relationship is more important than any individual proposal.

Even though innovation is necessary for business success and survival, change can still be scary. Take your boss’s concerns into consideration, and be skillful about proposing creative ideas that will benefit you and your organization.

about author

Karie Barrett
Karie Barrett

Karie is a results-obsessed marcom, design, and analytics professional with proven success leading corporate marketing, internal communications, and business strategy development for companies across diverse commercial and nonprofit industries.

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