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So, Your Boss Is A Jerk

by Ramon Greenwood

Unless you are among the rarest of the rare there are times when you think your boss is a jerk, a real pain in the rear.

But hold up a minute, you'll be well served to consider the reasons behind his behavior before you throw a fit. Understand, please, that I am not saying these reasons will justify a bad boss, but they do go a long way toward explaining what's going on. When you understand what's with the boss, you'll be better able to cope and to manage the relationship with him and boost your career.

Consider these scenarios:

1. Your boss doesn't know how to be the boss.
It may not be his fault. The workforce is filled with people occupying the position of boss who have had little or no training for the role. They have simply stayed around long enough to climb up the ladder by virtue of seniority.

2. You boss is dumb as a post.
He may be, but it could be that he just has a different way of doing things.

3. Sometimes he's moody, rude and abrupt. You never know what to expect.
There's really no excuse for such behavior, but the reality is you have to deal with it. Consider the possibility that your boss is reporting to someone who is riding him unmercifully to improve results. Or maybe your boss is going through a rough patch in his personal life.

4. Your boss is afraid to make a decision.
He may be scared out of his wits trying to fill a position for which he is not qualified. Maybe he feels that his job is in jeopardy.

5. He always insists that you do it his way.
Consider the probability that he knows more about the situation and the assignment at hand than you do. Maybe you haven't proven that your way is better.

6. He won't share information.
Maybe he is bound by his boss to keep things close to the vest. Or it may be that he doesn't have the information to share. Or it could be that you haven't shown you can handle information properly.

7. He never pays any attention to what you do and never gives you any feedback.
When your boss ignores you, he may be paying you a compliment in his own way. That is, he could be "ignoring" you because he feels confident that you will carry out your responsibilities without his looking over your shoulder.

8. He takes all of the credit. He is jealous when the spotlight shifts away from him.
These are sure signs of an inferiority complex. His ego needs feeding. Does he see you and others as competition for his authority? Are you being greedy for attention?

You no doubt have some relationship problems with your boss. Take a deep breath and get use to it. You'll always have a boss. Boss problems are a constant. Another constant is that relationships you have with your bosses along the path of your career will determine you success.

The basic strategy for building positive relationships with your boss is simple: understand the reasons for his conduct; support him and make him look good; where he is lacking know-how provide it; prove that he can trust you and that you are team player.

Perhaps you can help your boss to get promoted and you will be moved up to take his place.

Ramon Greenwood is a former Senior Vice President of American Express. To subscriber to his free semi-monthly newsletter please go to

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