It’s not easy being a staffer in any White House, much less this one.

Donald Trump’s administration is under bipartisan fire following reports from the Washington Post and others that the president inadvertently disclosed highly classified intelligence to senior Russian officials. Reporters heard press secretary Sean Spicer, his deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders and chief strategist Steve Bannon in a room yelling shortly after the news broke, and Trump’s top national security aides called the story false. However, Trump appeared to admit in a series of tweets this morning that he’d disclosed certain details.

 

The conundrum faced by Trump’s aides—what to do when the world thinks your boss makes a mistake— is one that is regularly replicated elsewhere. “You’re dealing with human nature, it’s just magnified in Washington,” says executive coach Debra Benton, who has worked with companies like Citi and General Electric.

Management experts say that there are smart ways of navigating similar situations. For one, shift your perspective and think about if you’d be happy with your potential actions five years down the road. Alternatively, imagine that it’s a friend who’s in your position and think about the advice you’d give them. “It’s important to be honest with yourself and that can be hard,” says Eden Abrahams, managing partner at Clear Path Executive Coaching. “We’re often more generous with friends than ourselves.”

If you do decide to support your boss, do so publicly and loudly, like deputy national security advisor Dina Powell did yesterday. “Don’t be a sycophant, but remember that you’re supposed to be a team player,” says Benton. “The team includes your boss.”

It’s ok to disagree with your boss of course, but the key thing is to do it privately and respectfully. A key is remember that corporate workplaces are increasingly diverse, so phrase your criticism in a non-judgmental way that addresses actions instead of intent. “We all were raised differently by different mommas,” Benton says. “If you don’t judge someone’s character or motive, you can address their behavior.”

The only situation when you should definitely say sayonara, management experts say, is when your boss cheats, lies or steals and then requests that you cover for them. “If you work for someone who plays fast and loose, the odds are that over time, you make enough compromises that you resemble them,” says Abrahams. “Is your salary and position really worth it?”

If your boss isn’t asking you to lie, cheat or steal however, loyalty can generally put you in a good light. “Other people are watching how you handle bad situations because we easily handle good ones,” says Benton. “You can later explain that you made your decision based on the facts you had at the time. If you put your boss under the bus prematurely, people will fear that you’ll do the same to them in the future.”