Disagree With a Subordinate, a Superior, or a Person In Authority

Dr. Mel Luthy, Chief Editor

Sample Letter #1

As his parent, your concern regarding this news is understandable. Your son Eric is failing history and English. In addition to his failing grades, Eric has poor attendance records in both classes taught by different teachers. On the two history exams that Eric did take, he received a passing score of 65%. Unfortunately, he failed to show up for two other exams and therefore received a failing score on both. In English, Eric missed three out of five days last week.

Eric has received several reprimands and detention. My secretary has left two messages on your answering machine as well as sent two letters to your home. Only by writing to you at work can I feel certain you will receive notice of the situation. Because of Eric's poor performance, he will need to attend summer school in order to graduate with his class. Please call me directly if I can answer any questions you may have.

Sample Letter #2

While I understand the need to restructure our department, I disagree with the plan to lay off nearly half of my staff. This team has worked remarkably well to implement the ambitious plan you proposed last year, and I feel it would be a mistake to break them up.

I would like to meet with you to discuss more modest ways of improving our department's efficiency without the problems that a large layoff could cause. I will be very happy to meet at your convenience. Please let me know when you have time to hear my proposal.

Sample Letter #3

I want you to know that I respect you as a manager and that the following does not change that regard. I have studied the issues concerning the Doe project and am certain our present course of action is detrimental and should be corrected. I strongly disagree with the cost and time estimates given and am certain the costs we will incur far outweigh the benefits.

I am writing a detailed justification and, with your permission, will be prepared to brief you by Monday. I will need one hour of your time. I am confident you will make some changes after hearing what I have documented.

Sample Letter #4

I must state that I disagree with your assignment of my student, John Doe, to detention last Friday. I was in the midst of disciplining Harold in the manner recommended by the school counselor when you walked up and sent Harold to detention. I feel that by doing this without discussing it with me first, you undermined the authority I have earned in my classroom. I would be glad to meet with you to discuss issues of discipline and authority in the classroom so that we can better understand each other in these areas.

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