Bad Boss: When Managers Are Threatened By Their Talented Employees

Management is such a thankless job. Few people understand or appreciate the work that does in to successfully directing and motivating disparate groups of people to achieve one large-scale goal. When talking to business professionals about their managers, the most common statement I hear is, “I just have no idea what they actually do.”

When a person is constantly delegating tasks to different groups or employees, it’s easy to assume that they keep few responsibilities for themselves. Managers sit up in their office as the rest of the company wonders if they’re responding to email or playing solitaire on that big old monitor. That’s why it can be hard for managers to truly earn the respect of their employees. Their job is just very difficult to explain and their hard work doesn’t have a concrete finished project to show.

This lack of understanding and respect leads to more management problems then any other structural problem in a workplace. It creates tension and frustration among those who feel like they’re working harder for less recognition. It can make managers defensive and obstinate when they feel like their staff is against them. Basically, it creates a big mess in any office.

For this reason, good managers attempt to involve their employees in at least a small part of their work. They try to get involved and lend a hand when a project needs a boost. Managers try to find visible ways to communicate results, letting their teams realize all that goes into building a successful company. It’s almost like launching your own mini-marketing campaign within your company to keep your staff members dedicated and inspired.

As I said, this is what good managers do. Or even mildly competent managers. They at least make an attempt to show their employees that they’re involved in the processes of the company. And then of course, there are the less-than-wonderful managers who seem to feel threatened and insecure by their employee’s ability to succeed in their job.

In theory, every company wants to have intelligent and hard-working employees in every position. They want someone who will do their job to the very best of their ability. However, for managers who feel insecure in their position, a successful staff can be intimidating. Instead of appreciating their hard work, unsure managers feel nervous about anyone else’s ability to out-perform them. They want to compete with their employees, instead of motivating them. They want to best their staff, instead of encouraging it.

This type of situation is detrimental, not just to the manager or team members involved, but to the company as a whole. I wish I could give some advice for how to deal with this type of insecurity, but there really isn’t any. There’s no way to win with a bad boss who constantly wants you to lose, if only to make themselves feel better. The simple fact of the matter is that these bosses will continue to lose talented employees until a superior steps in and demotes or fires them.

When managers are threatened by their employees, the only course of action for an intelligent business person is to fly the coop. Transfer departments, switch to a new company or get promoted out of the muck. Insecure managers simply can’t be managed. Going above their head looks unprofessional and languishing in their shadow can do permanent damage to your career trajectory.

It’s a managers job to get amazing results from their staff members. There’s simply no logical way to operate with a boss who doesn’t understand that part of their job.

What the worst example of insecure management that you’ve encountered? Do you think there’s any way to work with an unsure boss?

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    • Vaishnavi Jayakumar

      Thank you for the least helpful post possible. Why title this “Handling a bad boss and their insecurity” when you don’t actually have any advice to give besides “Leave”?

    • LOL

      The best solution is take as much responsibility as possible and then leave them in S**T :)