Employers want to know that you are respectful of your leaders. While you do not always have to agree with your leader, the interviewer wants to know that you respond to them with kindness and respect.
Talk about a time when your boss made a choice that you did not agree with. Explain how you responded. The key to successfully answering this question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are a respectful employee who treats others with dignity and kindness. If you are newer to your career, you can draw from a post-secondary example (Perhaps you had a conflict with a professor).
"I had a conflict with a manager earlier in my career. One of our team members skipped out on work 6 times in one month and I was always asked to cover their shift last minute. I was frustrated and could not understand why my manager wasn't just terminating the employee. I reacted hastily and the manager patiently reminded me that he had his reasons. He explained that he asked me to cover the shifts because he liked me and I was reliable. It turns out the absent employee was having serious health concerns and our manager was trying to be empathetic without disclosing the situation to our team. I felt terrible and learned that sometimes things aren't always as they seem. I apologized, and all was well."
"There are times when I have asked questions or brought up suggestions that challenged a boss or coworker. We resolved the matter with humility and the intent to resolve the problem while better understanding the opposing view point."
Sales answer example
"I have disagreed on many occasions with professors or bosses, but there have only been a few times where it has come to a head. One instance that comes to mind was regarding the distribution of my accounts when I was transitioning to another role. My boss had a plan that was in conflict with the recommendations, which was a problem because I know some of my accounts specifically disliked those account managers, which was frustrating, so we discussed. I laid out the reasons why I was upset and frustrated with the decisions he was making. He explained why he was making them, and in the end, we identified three accounts that could be switched around so that everyone was happy and the branch didn't lose any business."
Retail answer example
"One of my first mentors shared with me a nugget of knowledge her GM said to her early on: if you're comfortable, you're not growing. So, I try to seek out opportunities of small discomfort whenever possible. I keep a running list of things that I have identified as areas for improvement in the department, and bring them up tactfully with my boss. Generally, when I lay out the reasons for the improvements, she lets me tackle the issue. Occasionally she pulls rank and says no, and though it's frustrating, I know that she must know more than I do, so I bite my tongue and put my head down and get back to work."
Marketing answer example
"I had a boss that was incredibly skilled at his job, but was overly direct. He lead with tough love, and while that worked for him and some people, it did not go well with the graphic designer on our team. I tried to stick up for her and let him know that while his heart was in the right place, his approach wasn't effective and was really hurting her productivity. At first, it was a conflict because he felt insulted that I was questioning his management, but finally we were able to come to an understanding and he considered a new approach for her, and the employees in general. I was happy that I stood up for her in a tactful way and the department was better off as a result."