Despite all of its opportunities and glamor, the corporate world can feel oppressive. When you started your job, your boss was encouraging and supportive. However, lately, the boss is giving you a hard time. No matter how good you do, he just isn’t buying it. While it sounds awfully terrible, it might be because he seems to see you as a threat.
Not sure how to identify the red flags? Here are a few signs your boss gets threatened by you.
- Your boss will make disparaging remarks about you behind your back:
The goal is to isolate you from your peers. Your boss wants to make you appear to be the bad guy in every circumstance. If someone is sufficiently manipulative, they might not even doublethink to gossip about you. And, if they have the skills for it, you may learn about it for a long time.
Being aware of your surroundings and conversing with everyone around you is a simple way to spot such a situation. Someone will eventually let you know if anyone has been talking behind your back. Maintaining positive relationships with everyone mitigates the boss’ unpleasant back-biting effects. It may even end up backfiring on them.
- Your opinion doesn’t get attention:
When you have a brilliant idea or thought at a conference, and your boss dismisses it, it’s a sign that your boss feels threatened by you. It is true if you’re in a meeting with a senior executive, your boss will always try to reclaim control of the meeting. And, if they believe you are smarter than them, they will silence your opinion.
- You feel stuck:
Some bad bosses will try to stifle your advancement and mobility. If you’ve ever felt suffocated or held down, it could be a sign that your boss sees you as a threat. If your boss believes you may outbeat them in the future, they will limit your upward mobility and growth. This strategy is intended to get you out of the company without having to fire you.
- Short Conversations:
Previously, your boss would inquire about your thoughts. It was customary to seek your advice on a variety of topics. Now, however, they don’t want anyone’s opinion on anything.
Your boss may enjoy putting your abilities to the test by giving you very little information. They may also feel gratified because of their actions. That is how they convince you that you require their assistance at work. You can see this in their body language or changes in their mood.
- Hindrances in your promotion:
An insecure boss is always afraid of being outshone by his associates. This happens when your boss does not have the same abilities as yours. A young graduate with a diverse set of accomplishments may have a conflict with his boss.
If the employee is older than the boss, he will exert control over him. Take it as a sign that your boss is threatened or anxious about you if you see your boss attempting to restrict your advancement.
- They don’t acknowledge your accomplishments and even downplay your efforts:
A supportive boss should recognize that their employees’ accomplishments portray them well. Something is wrong when your direct supervisor remains silent while your coworkers praise you. There are instances where people disagree, and your boss may take a different approach than you.
However, if they feel compelled to put you down, they may be threatened. Your boss may be envious if you’ve advanced quickly or received recognition from higher management.
- They avoid meetings with you:
Your boss may act as if you do not belong to the team; you do not exist. They may avoid you because they feel threatened and they do not know what to do about you. Withholding information makes your job more difficult. Further, it eliminates the opportunity to build a rapport with them. They’re probably trying to keep their true feelings about you hidden. So, keeping their distance is a defensive measure.
- Your boss assigns you more work than you can handle:
This could be due to your boss’s aversion to seeing you at work. Putting too much responsibility on your shoulders will keep you in your cubicle. It will improve your chances of failure, which an insecure boss wants.
To see if you’re being overworked simply because your boss wants you to be, talk to your coworkers about their workloads. And, if you’re right, talk to your boss about it. If they apologize about it, your boss may see you as someone who has a higher work capacity, which is a huge compliment. However, if they try to dismiss it, telling you that it isn’t a huge deal is a clear indicator of your boss’s insecurity. They may tell you that you should be able to step up or quit.
- They limit your ability to communicate with upper-level management:
When employees go above, and beyond their responsibilities, managers feel threatened. They may be afraid of you reporting them to higher management if they are aware of their poor attitude toward you.
They may also be concerned that you’re contending for a promotion ahead of them or that you’ll humiliate them by outperforming them in some areas. Think about what’s causing your boss’s fears and insecurities.
- Your coworkers do not mingle with you:
Your network may be suddenly declining. The boss may make disparaging remarks about you to other executives. If your boss is attempting to separate you from other executives, it could be a sign that you are posing a threat to him.
Why is he/she threatened by you?
It’s a common occurrence. You’re chugging along in your job one day, and everything is going smoothly. Your boss compliments you and encourages you to achieve your objectives.
Everything changes suddenly. Nothing goes right, and your boss picks on you for minor infractions. You can never please your boss, no matter how hard you try.
What’s the matter? You were once one of your manager’s top performers, but now you’re one of their least-liked individuals.
You threaten them.
Most of the fearful bosses cannot see someone on their team who may one day outperform them. They’ll show their dissatisfaction by stating your work has more holes than a Swiss cheese. You can’t see the world through the eyes of your boss.
To be a threat to your boss, you don’t have to be qualified for the position. All you have to do is possess a skill set that they lack or establish a rapport with the company’s executive leadership.
For almost any reason, a too-competent or too-confident employee can startle a fearful boss, and they will try to make your job harder!
Is there any impact of this on you?
Yes. It will have a severe impact on you. It will impact your job, your personal life, and you may start questioning your capabilities. The boss may overburden you by assigning you a lot of tasks. Rather than challenging you with tasks that will allow you to shine, they prefer to keep you busy with low-level jobs. These jobs will not lead to recognition or advancement.
You might feel underappreciated and underutilized. But it would be best if you do not react negatively, challenging, or unprofessional. If your boss is good at creating problems for others, it may happen your behavior may backfire on you. You may land up creating problems for you.
It’s important to remember that everyone is a human being. Comparing ourselves to others is a common human trait, and it’s understandable if they are insecure about something. Your boss may be a pleasant and harmless individual who is intimidated by your abilities but cannot admit it for obvious reasons. Maintaining healthy social relationships at work usually keeps spite, envy and jealousy at bay.
Is there anything you can do about it?
If you believe your boss is acting in a certain way because they are insecure about you, approach them in a friendly manner to work out your differences. It’s also critical for you to understand as an employee that you must occasionally share the spotlight with your boss. And, you should give them credit where credit is due to maintaining a positive working relationship.
Understand that when your boss wields power over you, it’s most likely because they’re envious of you. To handle the situation and avoid any worse situation, the first step is to refuse to reciprocate in the power and status struggle. Instead, acknowledge your boss’ expertise and authority to validate them.
Remind them how much you appreciate their help and contributions to your success. Keep in mind that your humility and gratitude must be genuine. When appropriate, mention specific events or stories that demonstrate your manager’s support. Or, you can discuss how your manager assisted you in overcoming a challenge.
Thank your boss for providing you with valuable networking and development opportunities. Tell how privileged you are for the opportunities to work on high-profile projects.
This will promote a healthy work environment and encourage others to do their best. If this fails and your boss remains rude and distant, it might be a good idea to take your complaint to Human Resources.