Does it feel like your boss feels threatened by you?
Whether you’re trying to intimidate your boss or not, if they feel threatened by you it’s going to cause some complicated working dynamics.
Before you jump to the conclusion that this is why they’re acting the way they are toward you, it’s best to gather some evidence.
Here are 20 signs your boss is threatened by you and what you should do about it:
20 Signs Your Boss Is Threatened by You
1. They Are Standoffish with You in Conversations
If your boss seems to be avoiding conversations with you or is unusually short in their responses, it could be a sign they feel threatened by you.
You could try to approach them in a non-confrontational manner and ask if everything is okay to see how they react, but this is a tough barrier to overcome.
It’s also worth observing how they act with other coworkers. Do they treat them the same way or is it just you?
If your boss’s behavior toward you continues to be off, they clearly have some kind of issue with you.
2. They Find It Hard to Make Good Eye Contact
If your boss is finding it hard to make good eye contact with you, they may feel intimidated by you.
Avoiding eye contact is a common body language sign of feeling threatened.
However, it’s important to note that some people just have a harder time making eye contact in general, so this could be their natural behavior.
3. They Try to Micromanage You
Micromanaging is one of the worst, must suffocating things a boss can do to an employee – and it’s often a sign they feel threatened by you.
If your boss seems to be constantly checking in on your work or nitpicking everything you do, it could be because they feel like they need to constantly monitor and control what you’re doing to prove their superiority.
This kind of behavior can be frustrating and stifling, but try to approach the situation calmly and explain how their micromanaging is affecting your work.
4. They Criticize Your Work without Good Reason
No one likes to be criticized, especially if it’s not in a constructive way.
If your boss is constantly criticizing and nitpicking your work, it could be a sign they feel threatened by you.
Instead of offering constructive criticism, they might be trying to prove their superiority by putting you down.
5. They Clearly Praise Other Coworkers More than You
If your boss is constantly praising other coworkers and not giving you the same recognition, it sounds like they feel threatened by you.
They might see you as a threat to their position and try to bring the attention away from you by praising others.
Or, they just might find it difficult to talk to you and what you see with them and other coworkers is how they act around people they’re comfortable with.
6. They’re Trying to Gaslight You
This is a tough one as knowing when someone is actively trying to gaslight you is difficult to pinpoint.
But if your boss is constantly trying to make you doubt yourself and your abilities, it’s likely a sign they feel threatened by you.
It’s a common tactic to try to manipulate someone into thinking they’re not good enough to progress so a boss doesn’t feel so threatened.
7. They Are Jealous of You
Jealousy is a common emotion tied to feeling threatened by someone else both personally or professionally.
If your boss seems to be jealous of any success or recognition you receive, it could be a sign they feel threatened by you.
They might try to undermine your accomplishments or belittle them in any way they can.
This obviously puts you in a difficult position as you deserve acclaim and respect from your boss and doing so is a hugely motivating factor.
8. They Withhold Important Information from You
If your boss is withholding important information or not including you in important meetings, it’s likely a sign they feel threatened by you and are trying to isolate you.
They might feel like they need to keep you out of the loop or control what information you have access to in order to maintain their superiority.
Again, it puts you in a tough spot and makes it difficult for you to do your job.
9. They Don’t Give You Enough Support to Do Your Job
Your boss or manager is the one who should be making sure you have all the resources and support you need to carry out your role.
If your boss isn’t giving you the support or resources necessary to do your job, it’s a sign they feel threatened by you.
They probably fear that if you have everything you need, you’ll outperform them or do better in your role.
10. They Pass Over You for Promotions
If your boss consistently passes you over for promotions or new opportunities, it’s a clear sign they feel threatened by you and don’t want you nearer to their level.
They might fear that you’ll surpass them or be seen as a better leader, so they find it easier to hold you back.
If this is the case, it’s important to have a conversation with your boss and address any underlying issues or concerns they might have about you.
Otherwise, you might never be able to progress and will have to think about finding a new job if you have ambitions of moving up.
11. They Don’t Value Your Ideas and Innovations
Shutting down or ignoring your ideas and innovative suggestions to help you and your coworkers better perform in their roles is a common tactic a manipulative boss will use.
They might fear that if they run with your ideas and they work out well that others will praise you and say what a good job you’re doing.
This will make their fears of you threatening their role even more evident.
12. They’ve Told You You’ll Never Be Able to Do Their Job
This is a particularly hurtful and obvious sign that your boss feels threatened by you.
If they’ve directly told you or implied that you’ll never be able to do their job, it’s likely because they fear that you could potentially surpass them.
This is a toxic mindset for a boss to have and unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.
13. They Do Not Allow You Professional Development Opportunities
Similar to not giving you enough support or resources, if your boss constantly denies you the opportunity for professional development, it’s a sign they feel threatened by you.
They might fear that if they allow you to develop your skills and knowledge, it will only make you better at your job and possibly start outperforming them.
In the long run, this will only hurt your career growth and hinder any chances of advancement in the future so you need to address this issue.
14. They Give You the Tasks No One Else Wants
No one wants to be given the grunt work, especially someone who has been at a company for a while and earned their way up the corporate ladder.
If your boss is consistently giving you tasks no one else wants to do, it’s likely because they feel threatened by you.
They probably think that by giving you mundane and frustrating tasks they’re going to either push you out of your role, demotivate you, or stop you from progressing.
15. They Set You Up To Fail with Unrealistic Deadlines
Setting you up for failure by giving you unrealistic deadlines is a manipulative tactic that a threatened boss might use.
They want to ‘catch’ you slipping up and then have an excuse to say you’re not performing up to the level they expect.
It’s important to communicate with your boss and set realistic expectations for completing tasks if possible, otherwise, it will only hurt your performance and career growth.
16. They’ve Been Reducing Your Responsibilities
If your boss has slowly been reducing your responsibilities or taking them away completely, it’s a sign that they’re trying to push you out.
One of the reasons why they might be doing this would be because they feel threatened by your capabilities and fear that you might outshine them.
If this is happening to you, I’m sure you already feel miserable about it.
Your best bet is to go down the proper channels within your workplace to have their behavior addressed by their boss.
17. They Blame You for Things That Aren’t Your Fault
Blaming you for things that aren’t your fault or taking credit for your hard work are two toxic behaviors a boss who feels threatened by a coworker will do.
They want to make themselves look better in the eyes of their superiors and will do anything, even throw someone else under the bus, to accomplish that.
At the same time, they want you to look bad, so it’s a win-win in their eyes.
18. They’re Trying to Push You Out Of Your Job
If your boss is constantly trying to push you out of your job, whether it be through demeaning comments or blatantly telling you to find a new job, it’s a sign that they feel threatened by you.
They clearly fear that you might outperform them and possibly even take their job in the future.
This is a toxic mindset and behavior that needs to be addressed in the proper channels within your workplace if you enjoy your job.
19. They’re Trying to Get You Fired
Whether it be through finding excuses for your mistakes or setting you up to fail, a threatened boss will try to do whatever it takes to get rid of you.
This is one of the worst positions to be in if you love your job, and I only hope that by reporting their actions you can do something about it.
20. You Just Get a Gut Feeling that They Feel Threatened
Sometimes, you don’t need any concrete evidence to know that your boss is threatened by you.
Your instincts and gut feeling can often pick up on the vibes they give off and their behavior towards you.
If this is the case, it’s important to address the issue before it affects your performance and career growth.
The first thing to do is to communicate with your boss and try to find a solution to the problem if possible.
If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to go through the proper channels within your workplace and report their behavior.
You should never let someone’s insecurities hold you back from success, even if that person is your boss.
And please keep in mind that their behavior is a reflection of the difficulties they’re dealing with, it’s not a reflection on you or your abilities.
Stay strong and keep pushing forward. Good luck!