What would you say to your boss if he is crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks?

A question like this may feel like a trap, and even though it is intended to be, it doesn’t have to be. You can easily pass this test. The question doesn’t actually care about what the idea is, or why it bad. It actually wants to see what you would do in a situation like this. It wants to gauge your communication skills and whether or not you have tact. Basically, the question is a test of your composure, to see how you would handle yourself in a difficult situation.

Now, most people would automatically fall back to answering this question in one of two ways. One would be to say that you would tell your boss that it is a crazy idea and the second that your boss is probably right, mainly because he is the boss. Neither option is completely correct or completely incorrect. However, the ideal answer is something in between.

The ideal answer is that you should tell your boss if you have reservations about the idea, but you have to do it in such a manner that does not make the boss think that you feel he is wrong, or that you know better than him, because after all he is the boss. This is where the communication skills and tact come in. You need to be able to effectively balance the two.

Say something along the lines of instead of telling him about the idea being wrong or ‘crazy’; you would just point out negative aspects of the idea or what your reservations and concerns are about the idea. Be sure to mention that you would first analyze the idea and the situation to ensure that your concerns are valid, after all nobody likes to be wrong, not you or your boss. You can also mention that even though you feel that there would be negative ramifications of implementing the idea, the final decision does rest with your boss, as he does have more authority and power. The most you can do is point out your concerns.

Also highlight that you would support your concerns with data and research that you have conducted. Hence, it doesn’t seem like you are against the idea just because you don’t like it. Also state that in addition to pointing out the errors in the idea, you’d offer ideas as to how to fix it, in hopes that you can come to a compromise in which the idea can get implemented and in such a way as to ensure that it is successful.

If possibly try to mention a situation where this has happened to you and how you addressed it is the past. Avoid talking bad about your boss, or make it seem like you are dismissing the idea completely.

Sample Answer:

In my opinion, there is no such thing as bad ideas, only half formed ones. If my boss is crazy about an idea, then there is probably potential behind it. Thought of course each idea has its downfalls. If I feel that there are concerns regarding the idea, then I would address it with him privately. I would discuss my reservations with him and state why I feel the way I do. Hopefully, by opening up a dialogue we can modify the idea or implement it in such a way that increases its chances of being successful.

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