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Have a jealous boss? Make him an ally

Bosses are meant to be guides, to be people who show you the way, who manoeuvre the organisation and you towards the desired objectives, people who groom you to take on larger roles in your career. In short, from an employee’s perspective, bosses are meant to be the organisation itself. For most people, life in an organisation starts and ends with their boss.

The best bosses that I have heard of like to be surrounded by talent and ambition. In fact, they welcome it. But not everyone who is talented gets lucky. What happens when you are lumped with a boss who is jealous of your talents or turns hostile towards you? Boss jealousy is not uncommon. You need to be extremely secure as a boss to not suffer pangs of jealousy.

Neutralise the thinly-veiled hostility

If you feel that the person working for you is talented, articulate, has a good ability to network and even connect with other people at an intellectual and emotional level, it is normal for you to feel threatened. And that insecurity manifests itself as jealousy. This particularly becomes intense when one member of a group of peers is promoted to the next level and becomes the boss of the same team. Whatever be the reason, there is a good possibility that over your career, you will come across such bosses. If you are unfortunate enough to be stuck with such bosses, you need to neutralise their thinly-veiled hostility and, if possible, turn it into admiration.

Make them feel secure in your company

The only way to convert these bosses is to make them feel secure in your company. They need to believe that even though you have it in you to upstage them, you will never do so. It is this confidence that you need to build through both verbal and non-verbal acts, which will act as a positive tool for you. There are various ways in which you can do so. Consulting such bosses often is a means to buy confidence. Acknowledge their area of expertise and get their insights. It might be difficult for you in the beginning because you feel that you too are an expert. But in the interest of building a relationship, do consult them.

Dishing out genuine compliments

You would realise that often, the insights would match and it is quite likely that both of you would end up recommending the same approach,” says Vikram Menon, an expert in interpersonal relationships at work. Menon also sounds a word of caution: “It is quite normal for such bouts to generate negative energy. Don’t fall a prey to it.” Though you might not need to compromise on your self-esteem and suck up to your boss, dishing out genuine compliments, glorifying what you genuinely admire in your boss and praising his strengths normally work wonders. You can turn a jealous boss into a great ally.

By Ravi Subramanian, Banker & author of ‘Devil in Pinstripes’

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Categories: Office
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