If you’ve ever had an insecure boss, you will know that it can be extremely challenging. Sometime’s it can be utterly exhausting. It will wear on you to be under the guidance of someone who is unsure or stand-offish. Even someone who feels the need to micromanage you and your daily to-dos.
If you have not experienced this situation in your career, you are lucky. But, you should entertain the idea that it may happen in the future. In your career, eventually, you are bound to end up working with a leader who is not completely confident in their abilities. When and if this happens it is smart to have a game-plan so that you don’t lose your sanity (or job!).
Understand Why They Are Insecure
Okay, so, this is the whole “put yourself in their shoes” advice.You’ve heard it before? Maybe, but it helps you gain perspective on the situation. Try it!
The root of your bosses insecurities could run deep, and their behavior could be formed from past experiences and even stem from their trauma. In this case, there is nothing you can do and only so much to understand (without prying into their personal life). Knowing that the way they act is out of your control can be helpful to you.
However, if you think they may not have always been this way, consider the following:
- Is your boss/manager stepping into a new role? Are leadership and management new for them?
In this case, patience. In time your boss will find their rhythm and become more comfortable with their role. Everyone needs a grace period when starting something new. Stepping into a higher, more prestigious position takes some getting used to for anyone. Give them time, and you will learn alongside them.
- Is it possible that they see you as a threat? Are you highly competent and quite successful? Could this be the root of their insecurities?
By being a very passionate, career driven person, your overall attitude could come across threatening to someone who is above you. Even if it is not your intention to steal their job, that could be how they feel when they see you succeed. Insecurities bring out the worst in all of us. Try your best to stay in your lane, do your job, be successful, but maintain boundaries of who is in charge. Drawing the line between employee and employer will give them the power.
Treat Them Like Your Boss
If you have an insecure boss, you need to amplify what is appropriate for you and your boss. Even if they lack assertiveness in their role, you need to find the balance between where you are and where they rank as your superior. Try these simple Do’s & Don’ts to keep yourself in the clear at work!
- Don’t be their best friend.
It is entirely okay to get along with your boss. But, make sure you are not getting too close with them. Again, it is all about respecting boundaries. They hired you for a reason, to be a fantastic member of staff. You weren’t hired to give them life advice, outfit advice, or any advice for that matter. Remeber going for drinks, or attending yoga classes with your boss may not always be conducive to a working relationship that is already complicated. Treat them like your boss.
- Don’t challenge them.
When you challenge your bosses ideas and requests, it puts you both in an uncomfortable position. When you question what they ask, you are undermining their trust. Of course, there are situations where you are invited to challenge ideas and present new options to your leader. But tread lightly, you never want to tell your captain how to sail his ship.
- Don’t judge your boss.
Try not to judge your boss and their decisions. Even if they seem insecure and unsure at times, they don’t need constant judgment from you. Even though it can be frustrating at times to watch them sort out issues, or propose strategies you need to maintain a positive mindset towards your leader and your workplace. In doing this, you will keep your sanity. Being a judgmental and critical employee will get you nowhere. Try turning the urge to evaluate their every move into a motive to help them be the best boss they can be.
Be (Really) Good At Your Job
If you are damn good at your job, you instantly make your bosses life one hundred times easier. Trust me. If you are struggling with an insecure manager, do them a favor and just focus on yourself. Be a fantastic colleague, and in doing this, you will alleviate some of their stress.
Try the following tips to naturally help your apprehensive boss feel more comfortable.
- Stay in touch.
Stay connected with your boss. A quick email, text, or phone call at the start of your workday goes a long way. Letting them know what you are working on gives them a chance to make requests or give you feedback without them feeling overbearing. Checking in with them makes them feel important and valued, it also makes them feel apart of your work.
- Don’t gossip and stay positive.
Don’t involve yourself in office/workplace gossip about your boss. If that ever, ever gets back to them, you can kiss your 9-5 goodbye. Besides, it is way more conducive to your career to stay positive and be a light in your workplace. Rather than negative nancy who is always complaining about the ringleader. Believe me.
- Ask Questions.
If your boss is shaky in their position, asking them questions can prompt them to think about things they need to be doing. For instance, if you ask them if they want you to start working on next months presentation, you are also reminding them what is coming and keeping them on track. Or, if you ask them about the history of the company, you are giving them an opportunity to share some knowledge with you, which in return validates their position as a leader.
Having to deal with an insecure boss is no easy task, it is complicated to know what is and isn’t helpful in certain situations. Hopefully, these tips & tricks will have you thinking about how you can be the best employee possible and avoid conflict between you and your boss.