You and your Boss

Ego-driven bosses or megalomaniacs feel threatened by every achievement of yours. Power ceded to you is seen as power lost. Praise heaped on you is tantamount to your outdoing him. You are actualising his worst fears and obviously he won't take too kindly towards that. Here's a way out:


  • If your boss lacks focus, just concentrate on your own work. Retain your focus.
  • His dominating behaviour masks a lack of expertise on his part. So, he's probably trying to cover it up by being pushy, which, in turn, stifles open communication.
  • At times like these, reduce contact with your boss in not so obvious a manner and concentrate on the job at hand. But minimising interaction does not mean you ignore your boss—that would spell out doom for your career.
  • In case you don't see eye to eye with him over an issue, keep your cool above all else. Don't take it personally but try strengthening your position with objective research instead. Then use it to influence him.


  • A strange paradox does exist—the harder you work, the better you look in the top management's eyes and the more your boss will feel threatened. So, play to his need for control, but don't cave in completely. Just work on him until he stops regarding you as a threat to his position.
  • You could do this by sending out signals that you're a team player, not an individualist. This will allow your boss to take the lead and have the last word.
  • Let him share credit for your good work or proactive suggestions. If your vice-president praises you for a project completed, let him know you couldn't have done it without your boss' support and confidence in you. Let your boss feel good about himself and he'll allow you to feel good about yourself.
  • You could argue that your ego will take a bashing in the process. But sharing the credit with your boss is a prudent move—it'll show you're no threat and you've proved your loyalty.
  • This action will set off a domino effect of greater job security, more interaction and peaceful co-existence.


  • Flattery or schmoozing is a serious management tool. Some say people who resist flattery and appreciate upfront dealings run the best businesses. That's all well and good, though in the final analysis no boss minds a subtle schmooze sometimes. Studies conducted at the University of Michigan and Bryant College testify that shrewd ingratiation does get you ahead. So, whether you prefer to flatter him outright or gently slide into his good books, do it for the sake of your career.
    All said and done, office politics does dominate the inner mechanism in every company. Ignore it and you're bound to get sidelined.