How to handle a jealous boss

Wendy Smith is a personal coach and author of How to Get on With the Boss . You can get in touch with her at this link

Bosses, like all of us, come with a range of human emotions and one of them may be jealousy.  Given the number of visits to this post, I guess a lot of people think their boss might be jealous. And that makes them very unhappy. So here is some advice on how to handle a jealous boss. I hope it helps you.

Jealousy is usually shown in quite subtle ways in the early stages. You may not be sure that really it is jealousy they feel. Here is a useful checklist.

How jealousy might be shown – your jealous boss checklist

  • Have you been relegated to the dreary corner?
  • Do you always seem to be given the most boring work?
  • Are you often given just too much work?
  • May be, you are subject to sarcastic comments?
  • Your manager might just find fault with everything you do?
  • Or start to niggle away at a few small faults you do have?

If some of these apply, you are probably dealing with jealousy. Here are some things to try.

Your jealous boss – steps to take

First, directly confronting a jealous boss rarely works. Go carefully, particularly if you need to keep the job. It is sad, but in most organisations, unless there is a clear case of bullying, reporting your boss rarely turns out well. The benefit of the doubt will usually be given to the more senior person. Calling on the support of senior contacts against your boss might well rebound. They may not thank you for the information. They may value your boss for his/her technical abilities and your boss may have an otherwise good record.

Hard as it sound, the best approach is usually to make your boss feel you are on their side. I know this isn’t very nice. But they need to believe you are not a threat.They need to believe that, even though you might have it in you to upstage them. This is something you should never do so. Your boss needs to feel that you really will support them.

Show your boss that you respect their ability.

Show your boss that you respect their ability. And ask for their advice. It might be difficult for you at first because you feel that you too are an expert. But it will help to build your relationship. This will help to make them think of you in a kinder way.

Try to make your boss look good. Be ready to share your ideas. Accept that sometimes your ideas might be presented as theirs. If you have contacts higher up the office, be ready to share them with your boss. And, if your boss has unsung talents, make sure your senior contacts know about them.

If you do find yourself relegated to the dreary corner, see what you can do to brighten things up. In most kinds of work, there is some opportunity to make a positive mark if you look for it.

Overall – keep your dignity but turn yourself into an asset for your boss, and not a threat.

If despite all this jealousy turns into out-and-out bullying there are legal steps you can take to seek redress. Talk to an external adviser like your union official, Citizen’s Advice in the UK or even an employment lawyer about action to take.

More advice on how to handle your jealous boss

There has been a lot of interest in this subject and I’ve received lots of questions. So, I’ve written a little eBook on how to get on with the boss. In it you will learn how to make a great first and lasting impression at work. You will find out how to help your boss help you. Don’t be made unhappy, suffer stress and lose confidence because you cannot get on with the person in charge. Poor relationships at work can damage life at home as well as your career. There can be long-term effects on health and on your motivation.  My little eBook can really help you avoid the pitfalls and build a strong, positive, relationship with your boss. There is more on the eBook below but here is a quick link

A coach supporting you as you deal with your boss will make you feel far more confident. I offer a free first coaching session, so, please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a personal coach committed helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. You can find out more at this link

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