In most cases you need to do what your boss tells you. However, here are three cases when you should push back—respectfully, of course.
Your morals are challenged. If your boss asks you to break the law or do something that you feel is immoral or unethical, such as steal or mislead clients, don’t do it. Go to HR.
You don’t have the resources you need. If you don’t have the tools, data, manpower, equipment or information you need to complete a task and meet your goals, tell your boss. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up to fail.
The timeline—or goals—are unreasonable. If you know you can’t meet a deadline or produce the results your boss wants, talk to him or her about it. Just make sure that you aren’t merely complaining or resisting the assignment; be prepared to explain why you can’t deliver.
— Adapted from “3 Times You Need to Push Back at Work,” Caroline Zaïre Kaufman, Monster, www.monster.com.