Montrer son désaccord à son boss

Les mots clés et expressions:


Definition : a discord, a conflict, a clash, a discrepancy. 

Translation : Désaccord 

To go against

Definition : to oppose, to be at odds with, to disagree with. 

Translation : S’opposer à 

To turn down an idea

Definition : to reject an idea, to say «no» to a suggestion. 

Translation : Refuser une idée 

Could we arrange to meet privately ?

Definition : Could we get together in private ? Would it be possible to meet with you alone ? 

Translation : Pourrait-on se voir en tête à tête ? 

To put oneself in the boss’s shoes

Definition : to see the situation from his/her point of view, to consider things from a different angle. 

Translation : Se mettre à la place du chef 

To point out the good points in his/her plan

Definition : to highlight the positive factors, to pick out the advantages. 

Translation : Souligner les points forts de son projet 

What outcomes are you expecting ?

Definition : What results do you want ? What solutions are you hoping to obtain ? 

Translation : Quels résultats attendezvous 

To clarify the reasons behind the objectives

Definition : to specify the thinking behind the aims, to clearly understand why the goals exist. 

Translation : Préciser les fondements de ses objectifs 

What do you think ?

Definition : What would you say ? How do you see this ? 

Translation : Qu’en pensez-vous ? 

To see eye to eye on

Definition : to see a situation from the same point of view, to have the same opinion. 

Translation : Voir les choses de la même manière 

I don’t quite share your point of view

Definition : I don’t really see it like that, I don’t exactly have the same opinion. 

Translation : Je ne partage pas tout à fait votre point de vue 

I’m sorry but I don’t agree

Definition : I really must disagree, I can’t go along with that. 

Translation : Excusez-moi, mais je ne suis pas d’accord 

To blame

Definition : to point the finger at, to throw the responsibility at, to accuse. 

Translation : Reprocher 

Have I misunderstood something ?

Definition : Could I have misheard ? 

Translation : Est-ce que quelque chose m’a échappé ? 

To air one’s views

Definition : to discuss one’s concerns, to express one’s ideas. 

Translation : Exposer ses pensées 

To determine the cause of the disagreement

Definition : to define the issue, to have a clear understanding of the matter. 

Translation : Identifier l’origine du désaccord 

Well, maybe but…

Definition : perhaps but…, it’s possible but… 

Translation : Eh bien, peut-être, mais… 

May I bring up a point here ?

Definition : Could I suggest something here ? Could I make a suggestion ? 

Translation : J’aimerais suggérer quelque chose 

That might be true but…

Definition : could be the case however…, that’s possibly so nevertheless… 

Translation : Cela pourrait être vrai, mais… 

From my point of view

Definition : in my opinion, from where I stand, to me, as I see it. 

Translation : A mon avis 

My feeling is that…

Definition : I think that…, I would say that…, I believe that… 

Translation : Je suis de l’avis que… 

What worries me is…

Definition : I’m concerned about…, my main issue is… 

Translation : Je crains que… 

I’m not very happy with…

Definition : I’m not very comfortable with…, I don’t feel very confident about…, I’m hesitant about… 

Translation : Je ne suis pas à l’aise avec… 

I doubt if…

Definition : I have reservations about, I’m not sure that. 

Translation : Je doute que… 

With all due respect

Definition : with all my respect, without wishing to offend. 

Translation : Avec tout le respect que je vous dois 

I see what you mean but…

Definition : you have a point there however…, I agree with you up to a certain point but… 

Translation : Je vois ce que vous voulez dire mais 

I can’t quite see what you’re getting at

Definition : I don’t quite understand what you’re trying to say, I can’t quite follow your thought pattern. 

Translation : Je ne vois pas trop où vous voulez en venir 

Do you think it’s right to say that…

Definition : Would you agree that… ? Would you go along with the fact that… ? 

Translation : Seriez-vous d’accord pour dire que… 

Les usages à respecter:

• British people tread very carefully when having to disagree with superiors and would always start their sentence with an expression of excuse such as : «with all due respect» or «forgive me for saying so». 

• «We’ll just have to agree to disagree» is an expression used once disagreements have been aired, but no further solution can be found, and opinions remain as before, but without any negative atmosphere. 

Quelques règles de bon anglais:

To structure a disagreement, use “I” rather than “you”

In order to be less aggressive and accusing, it is better to express disagreements with «I», rather than directly using «you». For example, instead of «You are wrong», it is better to say :

– I don’t think that’s quite right.


– I don’t quite agree with you there.

Likewise, instead of saying abruptly to your boss «You are unclear in your explanation», it is better to put it this way : 

– I don’t quite follow your explanation. Could you run it by me again ?

“While” and “whilst”

Disagreements are received much more openly if the objecting idea is placed after a statement of agreement using «while / whilst» to soften the impact. Example :

– While/whilst I totally agree with the basic idea, I think we need to review our implementation methods a little.

Examples of softening phrases and expressions

– I don’t exactly have the same opinion.

– I’m not totally convinced.

– I don’t really see it that way.



Use the expressions you have learnt in this lesson to fill in the missing word(s), then check the result below.

1. It can take quite a lot of courage to .............. a superior’s idea, but it’s important to speak one’s mind and to .............. rather than to remain silent and frustrated.

2. Whenever there are conflicting views within a work team, it’s essential to ............ so that the best all round solution can be found as quickly as possible.

3. Although I understand what we are aiming for, I would like you to ............ in order to fill me in a bit more on the background. 

4. So, if we all agree with this new system which will totally replace the previous one, ............ from its implementation ? 

5. ............ ? I’d just like to interrupt and add something at this stage because it’s very relevant to what you’re saying. 

6. I can quite see the advantages in buying the factory now. However, ............ we would be better to wait until we receive the results of the asbestos analysis as this could incur enormous costs. 

7. I really don’t have any issues with the new software package itself. ............ the time element involved in training existing staff. 

8. Whilst we can certainly try and deliver part of the order earlier than scheduled, ............ we’ll be able to manufacture the whole batch for that deadline. 

9. I’m not sure if I’m speaking on behalf of everybody else or if it’s just me who’s confused, but ............ What exactly do you want us to do ? 

10. Whilst I go along with the general idea, ............ the way in which it’s all been forced upon us.

11. I appreciate the fact that the current market is very competitive, but ............ our products have been totally out dated by our rival companies ? 

12. Having listened to your comments against the proposal, ............. I’d still like to pursue this idea a little further.

13. It’s not my common practice ............ an individual, but this time, ............ I really do think that somebody has made a big blunder. 

14. It’s not essential ............ on every single matter with one’s boss, but it is important to listen to each other’s point of view and to agree to disagree if necessary. 


SOLUTIONS : 1 : go against / air one’s views. 2 : determine the cause of the disagreement. 3 : clarify the reasons behind the objectives. 4 : what outcomes are you expecting. 5 : May I bring up a point here. 6 : my feeling is that. 7 : What worries me is. 8 : I doubt if. 9 : I can’t quite see what you’re getting at. 10 : I’m not very happy with. 11 : do you think it’s right to say that. 12 : I see what you mean but. 13 : to blame /with all due respect. 14 : to see eye to eye.

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