3 tactics (with examples) to get a stubborn boss on board with your idea

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We have all worked for stubborn bosses. They can be hard to persuade even with the best negotiation tactics.

Believe it or not, relying on logic alone may not be the most effective way to get a stubborn boss on board with your idea. 

According to science-backed research published by The Muse, convincing your boss to say yes could take thinking outside of the box. 

In other words, do not just rely purely on logic. Some bosses will respond better to other forms of convincing. 

How to get a stubborn boss to say yes:

1: Appeal to your boss’s emotional side

Research shows that using carefully-select emotions can improve the effectiveness of your argument. Mental images make arguments and narratives easier to visualize, and emotions help to enable these mental images in the human brain. In many cases, an emotional appeal will help convince your boss to say yes to your request easier than a logical one. 

For example, consider an emotional appeal with your boss to change your working hours so you can be home when your child gets back from school. Tell your boss how important it is that you are home and describe some of the struggles that you face with your current working hours. 

By the time I get home, Johnny has already been home for two hours. He watches too much television and is forced to cram his homework assignments right before bed, and it’s putting a strain on our family. If I were home earlier, it would reduce that strain and help me focus more clearly on my work throughout the day.

2: Rely on your gut or intuition:

Some bosses will need a “gut feel” to say yes to your request. If you can successfully appeal to their intuition, you might stand a better chance of getting the answer that you want. 

For example, if you want to lead the new division that your organization is starting, use an intuition-based argument to convince your boss that you are the right person for the job. 

I have been with the organization for over five years and know this business inside and out. And as you may know, building a new division was one of the responsibilities of my last job, and I feel like I can push this new initiative forward and make it succeed.” 

3: Yes, some bosses can only be swayed by logic alone:

Sometimes, using a logical argument will be your best course of action.  

For instance, asking for a raise or a promotion at work will probably require concrete evidence that your contributions warrant a boost in your pay or responsibilities. Persuade your boss with logic-based reasoning like the number of overtime hours that you have worked, or how much money you saved the company after implementing your new business idea. 

Over the past six months, I have worked most Saturdays to successfully implement our new software product that has generated over $2 million in additional business for the organization. I have vested interest in its success and would like to be promoted into a Product Owner position and oversee its future development. I am fully committed to its success.” 

In conclusion, it is important to remember that bosses are just people, and different people will respond in different ways to business situations and negotiations.

Using a logic-based approach might work, but consider appealing to your boss’s emotion and intuition to convince him or her to get on board with your idea.