The corporate world can feel quite suffocating, despite all of its glamour and opportunities. We will mention the signs that your boss feels threatened by you. Perhaps the most potent reason an employee may feel out of place in such a setting is a bad boss rather than an insecure boss. Working under an insecure boss can be a harrowing experience indeed, and anyone starting with their first job would understandably not know what to do in such a situation.
It is the mark of a competent leader to identify and promote talent under them as part of the possible future generation of leaders. A good leader motivates their team to push themselves harder while making it feel like they are not pushing too hard and can be a blessing for any employee, old or new. However, an insecure leader who feels threatened by those they are expected to lead can become a liability for the employees and, consequently, discourage them from giving their best at their job. A bad boss could be the reason why a team underperforms. Therefore it is important to identify the signs of insecurity displayed by a leader and understand them to help to enhance one’s performance in the corporate world. Here, we take a look at some classic signs of insecurity that could help you realize whether your boss feels threatened by you and what could be the possible reasons behind them.
Signs That Your Boss Feels Threatened By You
- Your boss will say unfavourable things about you behind your back.
This is a typical sign of anyone who views you as a threat. The idea is to isolate you from common related people and make you seem like the bad guy in every scenario. If someone is manipulative enough, they may not even hesitate to spread rumors about you, and if they are good at it, you may even get to know about it for a long time. An easy way to identify such a situation is to be alert to your surroundings and talk to everyone around you. Sooner or later, someone will let you know if anyone, including your boss, has been talking behind your back. Keeping generally good relations with everyone neuters any possible effects of unhealthy back-biting carried on by the boss and could even backfire on them.
- Your boss doesn’t praise you when you have actually done good work, or tries to play your role in any assignment down.
Another typical sign of an insecure boss is the refusal to acknowledge the talent and hard work in their subordinates. Your colleagues may tell you that you have done a good job. However, if your boss still refuses to see it as such, there might be a possibility that they feel threatened by your abilities, and not seeing your good work might be a way for them to avoid the possibility of thinking that you might one day overshadow them at the workplace. However, some leaders like to follow a strict disciplinarian approach to their work, and it could also be possible that you just have landed a boss whose style of functioning is like that. Perhaps they think that too much praise could be bad for an employee, and therefore they do not praise you as much as you would like them to. It is important not to confuse the two types of leaders. Only time and experience will tell you about the kind of boss you have.
- Your boss constantly interrupts and ignores you during meetings.
A meeting is a space in the corporate setting where everyone present gets an opportunity to prove themselves. So it is natural that people shall be competitive in a meeting and try their best to get their point across to get themselves noticed. An insecure boss will feel threatened in such an environment by an industrious employee and will try to put them down in any way they can. If your boss constantly interrupts you, talks over you, or ignores you while speaking, it is a definite sign that you feel threatened by you. It is easy to spot such signs of insecurity in a meeting, and one needs to be wary of them. It is important to assert oneself in such a situation politely, of course, and shut down anyone who tries to steamroll you in a meeting. Usually, if you can successfully shut someone down in that way once, such behavior stops after that. If not, you might have to contact Human Resources.
- Your boss burdens you with more work than you can handle.
This could be because your boss does not want to see you in the workplace. Putting too much work on your shoulders would keep you in your cubicle and increase your chances of failure, something an insecure boss would like to see. To find out if you are being overburdened with work simply because your boss wants you to be, you could talk to your colleagues to compare the sort of workload they have, and if proven right, you could approach your boss about the situation. If they appear to be apologetic about it, it could just be that maybe your boss sees you as someone with a higher work capacity, and that is definitely a compliment. But if they try to brush it off and tell you that it is no big deal and that you should be able to step up or quit, that is a sure sign of your boss’s insecurity.
- Your boss talks bad about you in front of their superiors.
If you indeed threaten your boss, they will do anything they can to prevent you from getting noticed by their superiors. The underlying reasoning behind this is that your boss probably feels that if you get too close to their superiors, they might start favoring you over them and might even circumnavigate them to reach you. Therefore, your boss will ensure that all access you could have to their seniors is cut off as soon as possible and that you are kept in a place where you cannot come out and interact much with them. At the same time, your boss will bad-mouth you in the presence of their seniors as additional insurance for their insecurities. You can easily detect such behavior if you sense any awkwardness on your boss’s part when present in the same environment as their seniors. This shows that your boss has said things about you to them that he would not repeat in front of you. You could try and carve out an opportunity for yourself in such a case to talk to your boss’s seniors directly to ensure there is no undesirable misunderstanding between them and you.
How do you deal with a boss who is threatened by you?
It is important to understand that everyone is a human being at the end of the day. Comparing ourselves to others is a common human trait; naturally, they may feel insecure about something. Like everyone else, your boss yearns for respect at the workplace, and if they see you outshining them, it can make them feel threatened, especially if they feel that your rise is happening at the cost of their popularity and status. Your boss may be an overall nice and harmless person who feels intimidated by your capabilities but cannot admit it due to obvious reasons. Usually, maintaining healthy social relations with everyone at the workplace prevents unnecessary jealousy, envy, and spite.
If you feel that your boss is acting a certain way because they feel insecure about you, approaching them in a friendly manner to resolve the differences between you two. Also, it is equally important for you as an employee to understand that sometimes you must share the spotlight with your boss and give them credit when it is due to ensure a good working relationship between you two. That will ensure a healthy working environment and encourage others to work well too. However, if this fails and your boss is still rude and distant, maybe it is good to approach Human Resources with your problem.
Everybody desires an encouraging and positive work environment, and a good boss is an essential part of that. A jealous boss can lead to many unnecessary issues at the workplace, and often such issues can be solved through good and clear communication. While the onus is mainly on the boss to maintain an active and hardworking team of employees, the employees can contribute to the proper functioning of the workplace by allowing some space for human folly on the part of their leader and take the initiative to clear out any misunderstanding between them, for the betterment of everybody.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What if Human Resources is indifferent to my problem, even though I am convinced of it?
Then it is perhaps time to look for a new job. It is not worth staying at a job where you have nobody to address your issues to.
- If my boss is reprimanding me for sometime, is it because that they are threatened by me?
Not necessarily. It is important to see whether there are any faults on your side before rushing to conclusions.