Fear drives people to compromise their integrity, especially when it comes to their income. Integrity can mean being true to yourself or taking care of others.

I’ve often been faced with the choice to speak my mind and risk making my boss angry with me or keeping quiet and living with the repercussions. Speaking up effectively requires a thoughtful and compassionate approach. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and ask yourself why she did something before you ask her straight out. Often this inner dialogue results in a different conversation with your boss. You might be able to say “I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to deliver our sales in this economy and I’m wondering if that’s what’s leading you to consider shutting down the ABC project and laying off the team. Am I on the right track? If so, can I help you brainstorm about some alternative solutions?”

Tone of voice is paramount in enabling your boss to hear your question without feeling attacked. Be respectful of the pressures on her to deliver. She’s probably also looking out for your job.

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