how do I work for an insecure boss who thinks I’m spreading rumors about her? — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

A few weeks ago, my boss mentioned that she’d been hearing rumors about herself and said if I was the one spreading them, I could just come to her and talk to her. I assured her that I’m not spreading rumors about her or gossiping about her. Because I’m not.

Earlier this week, she accused me of frequently sharing looks with another coworker in our team meeting and asked if we were mocking her or had some sort of hidden animosity towards her. This person and I often sit across from each other (for some reason we all always sit in the same places for our team meeting). I admitted maybe I looked at this coworker because of where we sit, but I promised that there’s nothing like mocking or inside jokes or anything like that going on. Because there isn’t! I don’t think my boss believed me.

I don’t know how to handle this. Selfishly, I’m concerned that my boss’s insecurity is creating some sort of narrative about me in her head and that this is going to affect my career and/or my standing at the company. She mentioned the rumors right after telling me that she’s not putting me forward for a promotion this year. I’m also just worried about her. I’ve only recently been reorganized under her, so I don’t know if this level of insecurity is normal or in reaction to something else.

Before you ask — no, she’s not a new leader. She’s part of the senior leadership in a company that has more than 1,000 employees. Any ideas?

Oh noooo, that’s not good.

Mentioning that she suspected you of spreading rumors about her right after telling you she wasn’t recommending you for a promotion sure as hell sounds like those two things are connected. Maybe only unconsciously for her, or maybe explicitly. Either way, it’s not good.

Honestly, I’d try to get out of there as quickly as you can. Can you transfer internally? Or, any chance you were thinking about looking around outside your company sometime soon anyway? If so, this is the time to do it. If not, this may still be the time to do it.

Working under a manager who’s not only insecure but who’s apparently convinced that you personally have set yourself up in opposition to her — and that you’re mocking her and possibly spreading rumors about her! — will harm you professionally. There’s no way around that. You need a manager who trusts you, feels reasonably positively toward you, and is willing to champion you and your work. You have the opposite of that. (Also, what are the rumors that she thinks you might be spreading?! Please find out!)

To do damage control for whatever amount of time you’re stuck staying, you could try going out of your way to cater to your boss’s very fragile ego: make a point of being warm and friendly to her, and really try to make it hard for her to see you as anything but an ally. Switch up where you sit at team meetings so you’re not always across from the coworker who she thinks you’re mocking her with (which is silly to have to do, but might be worthwhile anyway). You could even go back to her and say, “I thought about our conversation, and I’m really taken aback that you’d think that about me. I want to make sure you know that I have nothing but respect and good will toward you, and if there’s anything I’ve done that’s given you a different impression, I’d want to remedy it.”

If you have really good HR, maybe you could talk to them about what your boss has said and ask for their help navigating it. They should be alarmed to have a manager making such odd accusations to team members … but whether or not they’ll intervene in an effective way is very much a crapshoot. It wouldn’t hurt to try if they’re generally trustworthy, though.

But longer term, this sounds like someone with a very shaky sense of self and an inclination to believe others are out to get her — and who has already put you in the “possible adversary” camp. This is bad, and it’s not something you can fix on your own. I would get out.

Source link

Receive the latest news

Ready to find your dream job?​

Receive personalized alerts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities. 

By signing up now, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use and to receive emails from us.

GoJobZone popup
Receive the latest news

Ready to find your dream job?​

Receive personalized alerts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities. Don’t miss out – start your journey to success today!

By signing up now, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use and to receive emails from us.

Skip to content