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Characteristics of an insecure boss and how to know that the boss wants you to leave

From childhood, we were taught that a leader is a person with a certain set of qualities. This person knows how to make decisions, encourages initiatives, and leads the team. In adult life, many have to understand that such a portrait is not always true. 

If, having come to work, we understand that we find ourselves in a toxic environment where achievements are not encouraged but denounced, the problem is most likely in the boss. Insecure leaders don’t know how to build healthy relationships with subordinates. You can recognize such a leader by several signs. For more information on this, see An Insecure Leader: Tell-Tale Signs Your Boss is Threatened by You.

Characteristics of an insecure boss

The main fear of such a boss is promising employees. An employee who is productive and demonstrates an extraordinary approach to solving tasks is a threat to an insecure boss. Therefore, such a boss might ignore rational suggestions, criticize and even punish for deviating from the usual patterns of work.

In a team led by such a person, there’s always a tense situation. Employees might watch each other and report on colleagues. Standing out in such a team is dangerous. An insecure boss can not only fire but also break the career of an objectionable employee with bad recommendations.

Such a boss loves to be praised and called the smartest. At the same time, they sincerely believe the praise and don’t view it as hypocrisy. If the boss sees a threat in you, they will try to push you out of work by all possible means. It is important to notice these intentions in time and adopt the right attitude.

How to understand that you are a threat to your boss

An insecure person wears the mask of a strong leader. Therefore, sometimes it is not easy to understand what’s on their mind. You need to pay attention to such moments and prepare a strategy.

1.  Boss ignores your offers

In this case, you should not retreat. Professional growth is more important than your relationship with your boss. In addition, the constant suppression of one's own initiative can lead to a loss of professional interest and even burnout.

Make the boss think that this is their decision or suggestion each time. For example, start by saying: “What you’ve said helped me come with this idea” or “Do you think this approach would be effective?” This way you can lull the fear of your boss and elevate you in their eyes. 

2. The boss begins to overload you with unrelated tasks

First, pay attention to your main tasks at all times. Other tasks can be delegated to your subordinates or shared with colleagues who can help. Your goal is to show the boss that their assignments are important and you’re working on them, but your key duties are also being kept in check.

3. The boss does not allow you to meet with higher management

Don't try to go over their head. Let the boss know that you view them as important and no decision will be made without their approval. Assure them you will never take the initiative without letting them know and resolve all issues with higher leaders only with their participation.

Each situation is different and it is impossible to foresee all the ways in which the boss will try to force an objectionable employee out. But based on these recommendations, you can come up with an effective strategy of dealing with an insecure boss.


Top comments (1)

curiousdev profile image

I am not sure, if this can be taken serious. I would not say, that a short article like this can provide you, what you need to check, if you have an "insecure boss". The content is not necessarily wrong, but it feels a lot like decribing the stereotype of the disliked boss, who is afraid of losing power and showing missing skills.