5 ways to deal with insecure bosses

Dealing with a superior who is insecure about your presence and performance can be difficult to say the least. While bosses' insecurities could stem from a variety of reasons, they can play havoc with the career of the professional who is always at the receiving end. Here is how you can stay in safe territory.

Help the Boss Decide

Insecure bosses can also be indecisive as they are afraid of taking swift decisions, says Vijay Deshpande, VP, HR at JK Industries. "In such a situation, assist the boss by proposing plans that make him or her say 'yes'. Asking for bosses' approval will make them feel they are in control," he says.

Avoid Arguments

Insecure bosses do not appreciate an aggressive and argumentative attitude. "One could say, 'I have an alternate idea or plan that I would like you to consider," says Deshpande.

Rely on Documentation

Shrey Jain, an IT professional, always relies on mails to validate his verbal discussions with the boss. "It helps to have written records in case he or she goes back on what was discussed," he says. Validating what bosses say also puts their fears to rest.

Respect Hierarchies

People who are insecure like to be kept in the loop, and are very mindful of hierarchy. Avoid reaching out to the boss' boss. "As far as possible, don't do so for approvals and plans in the boss's presence," says Deshpande.

Seek Advice from Superiors

One of her research studies led Teresa Amabile, a professor and director of research at Harvard Business School, to conclude that insecurities lead people to give harsher evaluations. "Those who are intellectually insecure come down hard on others, perhaps as a tactic for proving how smart they are," she states. If all attempts of allaying your boss' fears and insecurities come to naught and it severely impacts your performance, it is best to reach out to superiors or the HR department for advice on how to tackle the situation.

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