11 tell-tale signs your boss is threatened by you

Published on May 14, 2022
11 tell-tale signs your boss is threatened by you

“I think my supervisor is jealous of me. Now what?” Have you ever been in a position like this? If you are a capable and driven professional with leadership skills, then this is an actual possibility.

You are dealing with a person who has some degree of control over you at work. Yet they are actively trying to sabotage you. Essentially, you are dealing with a tyrant.

Unfortunately, this situation can negatively affect your productivity and hinder your career progression. Not to mention the toll it might have on your mental health and personal life.

In this post, I will share with you several signs to look out for if you are suspicious that your boss feels threatened by you and is doing everything that they can to control you and not let you progress in your career. Also, I will give you the best advice that I have on dealing with your jealous boss effectively.

11 signs your boss feels threatened by you

11 signs your boss feels threatened by you

Here are some classic signs your boss is afraid of you professionally. However, remember that when we are dealing with manipulation and deception at work, we are always looking for multiple signs, not just one.

1. They criticize you a lot

You know you are doing a good job. Yet, try as you may, you will never do anything right. Your boss is always on to you, and it feels like they are never satisfied with your work. Even the smallest of things can make them go ballistic on you.

2. They undermine you

They try to undermine you and ruin your authority in front of your colleagues and even other executive staff members. They might yell at you in front of other coworkers in an attempt to make you look incompetent.

Remember that this is an insecure person who believes that you are more intelligent than them and able to outperform them eventually. As they say, all anger comes from a place of fear.

3. They micromanage you

Your boss will monitor your every move and try to control you in everything you do. This is a sign that they always want to be in control of your work so they can keep a track of you and block you in case you are about to show some impressive results. You can take a look at our guide on how to deal with a micromanager at work to gain some additional insights.

4. They are jealous of you

How to know if your boss is jealous of you? This one is tricky. We have a whole guide on dealing with jealous people at work. But keep in mind that if your boss is jealous of you, this means that your professional capabilities are truly impressive. It is likely that they’d want to use you in some way.

Perhaps when they ask you for advice, they do it in person, with nobody else around. This way…

5. They take credit for your work

Essentially, they are able to present your ideas as their own. They might try to take credit for your work. You see, even though you did all the work, it was all thanks to their brilliant directions and management.

6. They give you low-profile assignments and tight deadlines

Low-profile assignments and impossible deadlines are another sign that your boss might feel threatened by you. This is a straightforward way for them to try and prove that you are not an essential asset to the team and that the company can ultimately survive just as well without you being a part of it.

7. They discredit your input and achievements

Because they believe you are better than you, your jealous boss will ignore your input and achievements in your daily work.

Regardless of how brilliant your ideas might be, they will not get the light of day. No matter how hard you try to prove yourself worthy, you will not succeed.

If you are beginning to doubt yourself, consider the possibility that your boss is trying to make you feel incompetent on purpose in order to sabotage your professional growth.

8. They hinder your development at work

They will not allow you the opportunity to grow in the company. After all, they view any potential growth opportunities for you as immediate threats to their position in the hierarchy.

9. They gaslight you

Here are a few lines that you may hear often from a manipulative boss or a manager.

  • “I never said anything like that.”
  • “You are just imagining things.”
  • “You are being too sensitive about it.”
  • “Why are you overreacting like this?”

Sounds familiar? These are classic lines used by people who want to make you doubt yourself and your own judgment.

10. You experience a work network withdrawal

At a certain point, you might notice that some of the colleagues and even other executives with whom you worked well in the past no longer communicate with you. At least not in the same way. This is one of the signs that your jealous boss has managed to poison their opinion of you.

11. They try to get you fired

In many cases, the end goal of a boss who feels threatened by you is to get you fired or get you to leave on your own.

Expectedly, they want to eliminate any risks related to you staying in the company. You might want to check our guide on how to deal with somebody who is trying to get you fired.

How do you deal with a boss who is intimidated by you?

How do you deal with a boss who is intimidated by you

Dealing with a boss who is intimidated by you will not be easy. The instinct of self-preservation is very strong in these people, and they will hardly give up on trying to get rid of you in one way or another. Still, there are a few things that you can do to “fight back”.

1. Don’t doubt yourself and your professional abilities

Your boss is doing their best to make you think that you are incompetent. In reality, you are probably a lot better than them. That is why they feel threatened by you.

2. Don’t confront them directly

It is possible that they are trying to provoke you. Perhaps they are trying to cause a workplace conflict and they are confident that they have better odds to win. Nothing good will come from a direct confrontation. They will deny everything and try to gaslight you once again.

3. Remain polite and professional

Being aggressive will do you no good. On the contrary, the distribution of power and authority will probably make the situation even worse for you. So do your best to act in a subservient way around your boss. At least for now.

4. Do things by the book

Do your best to follow best practices in your day-to-day work. This should give your jealous boss fewer opportunities to criticize you.

At the same time, don’t go above and beyond to please your boss. In fact, you can practice a more of a quiet quitting job philosophy so as to reduce your work-related stress.

5. Don’t give them your ideas

Stop sharing your brilliant ideas with this person who doesn’t appreciate you. They are only using you and taking credit for wins that were entirely yours.

6. Use email, group chats, and project management systems to your advantage

Use the shared digital channels to communicate your ideas about work. This way your colleagues and other middle and upper management staff members will know who deserves all the credit.

7. Shine in team meetings

Use every chance you have to speak up in meetings. You are not voiceless. You are a capable professional. So don’t be afraid to put your thoughts out there.

The reasonable people in the room would want to hear you out and give you the opportunity to speak. Even if your boss is there, they won’t be able to do anything about it.

8. Form workplace alliances

Consider the other professionals that you work with. The people that parallel your position. Your colleagues. With time, you will be able to form workplace friendships. Such alliances have a strength of their own. Together, you will be able to push back against deceptive, jealous, manipulative superiors.

9. Expose your evil jealous boss to HR

As a last resort, you can go speak to HR about your incompetent boss. Yes, they are incompetent if they are actively sabotaging their subordinates because of their insecurities.

Make sure to bring forth any evidence that you might have acquired with time such as emails and DMs. It would be best if you do this together with one more or several team members who have noticed the unethical behavior of your boss.

On another note, all this attention you receive from your superior might mean something else entirely – for example, your boss may actually be attracted to you.

10. Unwind after work

Dealing with a jealous and manipulative boss at work can be quite stressful. You might find yourself overwhelmed with rumination after work. That is why it is important to leave your worries in the office. Take a look at our comprehensive guide on how to avoid rumination and unwind after work properly.

11. Leave your toxic workplace

If all else fails, you might want to quietly start looking for other job opportunities. If you are a capable professional, then surely there is something much better for you out there. In the meantime, you can check our guide on how to leave a toxic workplace without drama.

How do you tell if your boss is scared of you – Key takeaways

  • They criticize you and they undermine you all the time.
  • They micromanage you and control your every move.
  • They are jealous of you and take credit for your work.
  • They give you low-priority tasks and unreasonable deadlines.
  • They manipulate you, often using techniques such as gaslighting.
  • They try to provoke you and ultimately want to get you fired.

How to deal with a jealous boss – Key takeaways

  • Don’t confront them directly. Remain calm and professional.
  • Focus on doing your job to the best of your abilities, and follow good practices.
  • Don’t give your good ideas to your boss, use shared digital channels instead.
  • Form meaningful professional relationships with other staff members.
  • Take steps to protect yourself from your evil jealous boss.
Written by:
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Alex Alexiev
co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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