Dealing with a Difficult Boss 2 - How to Handle the SabotagerBy Julie Cohen
Does your boss drive you nuts? Unlike the micromanager and the
incompetent boss, the Sabotager takes an active role in negatively
impacting your career. He may give you work that is
significantly below your capabilities, highlight a weakness of
yours in a public meeting, assign projects to you that are set up
for failure, or prevent you from leadership opportunities. A
Sabotager usually comes from a place of inadequacy and believes
that other people’s success can limit his own.
How to Handle the Sabotager?
You can attempt to address a Sabotager directly, but he will often deny his actions and claim you are not competent. As with any request of your supervisor, state what you observed and request what you need from him in a non-defensive manner. If you choose to communicate directly with a Sabotager, be sure to have other allies within your organization and document the issues and challenges you’ve faced previously.
If the Sabotager is preventing you from doing your job, you’ll want to make a case to the appropriate advocate within your organization. That may be your boss’s boss, a leader within the company or a Human Resources Professional. Make sure it’s someone you can speak with confidentially. If there is no appropriate recourse (a complete change in your boss’s perspective or a reassignment to another supervisor) you may want to consider looking elsewhere for employment.
Other Bad Bosses
Unfortunately, these are only a few types of dysfunctional bosses. You may have encountered The Abusive, The Buddy, The Obsessive, The Workaholic or The Absent. Whatever challenges your supervisor may cause you, you don’t have to be at his/her mercy. You have both internal and external resources:
- Communicate your concern directly to your boss and ask specifically for what you need from him/her.
- Partner with your boss to create a win-win-win. Acknowledge your concern and engage your boss in mutual solution finding.
- Trust your intuition. If something feels out of your comfort zone, get other professionals involved.
- Document your situation. Keep track of what you believe to be inappropriate behavior.
- Look for employment elsewhere. Work should be a place where you can excel professionally and feel comfortable personally.