When to speak up against a superior

Speaking up about something you think a superior is doing wrong is intimidating and risky. From calling attention to a serious violation to questioning a simple business practice, you have to weigh your situation to determine whether speaking up is the right thing to do. Here are some things you should consider:

1. Would you be able to live with yourself if you didn’t speak up? If you feel that speaking up is the morally right thing to do, it may be too difficult to keep quiet.

2. Realistically understand the consequences. Sometimes you might overestimate the negative consequences of speaking up and remain silent because of it. You should also weigh the consequences of staying silent.

3. Understand your position and how others listen to you. People in some positions are expected to raise questions, while others may be expected to support the decisions of others.

4. Know when, how and to whom you should speak. Choosing these things carefully will affect the potential consequences.

— Adapted from “5 Questions to Ask Before You Call Out Someone Powerful,” Megan Reitz and John Higgins, Harvard Business Review.