Over the past couple of years I have been working for a startup, reporting directly to the CEO. There are other teams that I work with that he also manages, but I work by myself. Over this time he has earned my respect and I trust his leadership.
There have been few occasions where I have outright disagreed with a decision he has made. In the past when I disagreed with him, I would put forward (in a one-on-one meeting) my reasoning why I think another option would be better in a polite, respectful way. If he turns my idea down then I let go and trust his decision.
Over the past few weeks, I have seen an employee on another team (also managed by my boss) disagree with a technical decision in front of myself and other members on his team. He did not back down when his idea was declined, but rather continued to force his opinion and would not take no for an answer. My boss had to be quite stern to bring the discussion to an end.
This is the first time I've seen someone so blatantly disagree with their superior in a public way and not back down. I was quite surprised because it is something I would never do myself. I work in the USA but am a foreign national, and this isn't something I've encountered before.
It lead me to question if I am too polite in the workplace. Perhaps this behavior is more acceptable than I think it is. So, is it professional to publicly disagree with a superior in such a way?