Is There A Polite Way to Say "I Told You So"?
Q. My boss frequently asks for my advice on a variety of matters. However, she often ignores my suggestions. When things don’t go well as a result, I always hold my tongue. But I would love to tell my boss, “I told you so.” Is there a way to do this politely?
A. It sounds as if you have a lot of good ideas. But figuring out how to say “I told you so” to your boss isn’t one of them. Why would you want to antagonize the person you need to impress? Instead, focus on getting your supervisor to take your great advice in the first place. To make this happen, you’ll need to convince her of the validity of your ideas ahead of time, rather than pointing out retroactively that you were right.
The next time she asks for your opinion, try this approach: Phrase your suggestion as a question to make it clear that you understand the call is ultimately in your boss’s hands, then follow up with an explanation as to why you wish to do things a particular way. For instance, say, “Shall we add a discussion about the new project to Monday’s meeting? The team will already be assembled and we’ll make crucial decisions ahead of schedule.” With any luck, your powers of persuasion—combined with a respectful tone—will carry the day.