Few Things Are More Destructive Than An Insecure Boss

Few things are more destructive to a career than a boss who is insecure. Unfortunately, it is a near certainty that most people will encounter one or more such persons along the way.

"The actions of an insecure boss will eventually create an insecure organization, riddled with anxiety and indecision," says Ramon Greenwood, senior career counselor at Common Sense At Work.com. "People will spend more time looking over their shoulders than looking ahead. Good defenses become more important than effective offenses."

Seven Traits Of An Insecure Boss

You will know your boss is suffering from an insecurity complex when he or she is engaging in behavior highlighted by these seven such traits:

1. The boss insists on absolute control over everything in the department. He rules with an iron hand, refusing to delegate any real authority. He doesn't trust anyone. He has few allies. Those allies he does enlist are formed into a tight little clique strongly obligated to his authority and dependent on it. They live an uncertain life on a short leash.

2. The boss constantly interferes in the work of his staff. Second guesses are the order of the day.

3. He constantly defends his position. Every question or hint of criticism is treated as a challenge to his worth and authority. He doubts he has the respect of his associates. Those who exhibit a mind of their own are under constant attack.

4. The insecure boss is most often an absolute perfectionist. He will climb the wall when you make a mistake. But look out. When he fouls up, he will blame it on someone else. He has to be right every time.

5. He will resist making decisions. This means endless studies and return trips to the drawing boards.

6. He will frequently remind you who is boss.

7. He finds it next to impossible to laugh at himself, but he is quick to laugh at others.


There are no certain quick fixes, but there are seven steps that will help mitigate the situation and advance your own interests. Actually, insecure bosses can offer opportunities.

1. Be certain you are not contributing to your superior's low self-esteem. Do everything you can to reassure him of your respect for his position and your commitment to helping him do his job.

2. Shore him up at every opportunity. Learn where he feels most insecure--where his hot buttons are--and make a special effort to be helpful in these areas.

3. When you have to challenge him, and surely you will from time to time, be certain to do it in a positive way. Don't question his authority. Never challenge or criticize the boss in the presence of others.

4. Never go around your insecure boss to deal directly with his boss without explicit approval. Make sure he realizes that you clearly understand the hierarchical relationships. You don't want to become an endangered species because you are seen as questioning his judgement and appealing to higher authorities.

5. Always be sure he gets more than his fair share of credit for your good work. Stay one step behind him when the limelight shines.

6. Find some of his good points and acknowledge them, publicly as well as privately. Remember, your boss may be a pain in the neck to work with, but surely he must have some redeeming features worthy of compliments.

7. Think of your own insecurities and what helps you deal with them. Apply what you learn from this analysis to dealing with your insecure boss.

Ramon Greenwood is former senior vice president of American Express; a professional director for various businesses; a consultant; a published author of career related books and a syndicated column. Senior career counselor for http://www.CommonSenseAtWork.com

In The News:

pen paper and inkwell

cat break through

Use Every Weapon You Have

One of the strongest weapons available allows business, non-profit and... Read More

Giving a Good Appraisal Interview

Although this performance discussion is an opportunity for you to... Read More

Being a Great Boss

Are you one of those bosses that people just love... Read More

Organizational Culture and Creative Blocks ? the Similarities

Few Decision makers see the link between between creativity and... Read More

Performance Appraisal - Ten Stupid Things Managers Do To Screw It Up

Performance appraisals aren't fun. But a lot of the time... Read More

How to Enhance Quality in Your Business

Every business must strive to provide quality products and services... Read More

The Walmart Cult

The CultBecoming a part of the Cult, consists of being... Read More

Delegation Obstructions

OBSTRUCTIONS: 1. Staff deficiencies. Lack of confidence in employees quite... Read More

Identifying Potential in Ourselves and Others

If there is someone nearby as you read this look... Read More

Is Your Business Ethical?

Ethics - in a profession or trade - is that... Read More

Comparing Ancient Programs from the East to Modern Programs like Stephen Covey.

Comparing Corporate and Personal goal attainment programs that have developed... Read More

The Narcissist in the Workplace

To a narcissist-employer, the members of his "staff" are Secondary... Read More

Motivation - It Starts with Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement is about recognition or attention from another person. It... Read More

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

Yesterday I look at my calendar and saw that my... Read More

Why Good Enough... Isnt

About a year ago, I had an opportunity to have... Read More

Three Foundation Stones for Building Organizational Integrity

When the stock market crashed in 1929, there were a... Read More

Before You Head Off, Make Sure You Know Where You Are Going - The Importance of Clear Objectives.

The title of this article sounds like simple advice, but... Read More

Project Management, A Forgotten Perspective

Effective project managers know how to get the job done,... Read More

Year 2010: Permanent Employees No Longer Required

Jack Welch joined a conference that was held in Duke... Read More

Meetings and Road Trips

Managing a meeting is like setting off on a long... Read More

Improve Operations by Restructuring

Transitioning from Vertical Hierarchies to Decentralized / Flatter OrganizationsThe need... Read More

Is Your Business Healthy?

Most business owners I work with want to grow their... Read More

Sarbanes-Oxley and Section 404: Old Dog, New Teeth

The failures we have seen in the quality and integrity... Read More

Factoring Financing: How to Grow Your Business Without Debt or Loans

What is factoring?Accounts receivable financing, also known as factoring, is... Read More

Leadership in Troubled Times

Leadership in Troubled Times The... Read More

Think Before You Talk

What you say to other people can make or break... Read More

Innovation, Idea Selection, Valuation

There is no sure fire route to commercial success, but... Read More

Structure Your Payment Offers to Sell More Products

The way you structure your payment offers can increase your... Read More

Write Winning Proposals For Venture Capitalists

You need to secure money for your project. You visit... Read More

Innovation Management ? Measuring Failure!

Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation... Read More

Document management : A dream of paperless office

What is document management: When we think about "Document Management"... Read More

Make the Most of Your Time - Focus on Strengths

Once working and focused in tune with what they do... Read More

More Problem-Solving Success Tips

The ability to solve complicated problems quickly is more important... Read More