Early in my career, I had a string of insecure bosses. Guys that would steal your ideas and take credit, criticize you in front of others, and do anything to make themselves look good. So I learned survival techniques early on. Perhaps that’s why 10 years ago this commentary by Jeanne Sahadi connected with me. If you’re trapped in a situation with an insecure boss, this might help transform your outlook:
Way too often in modern business, competition makes us feel that we can’t ask for help. We think it will show weakness, and as a result, we lie. We try to make everyone think we can handle everything, when the truth is, we have lots of questions. Here’s my take: Insecure people are terrified that people around them will think they don’t know what they’re doing. But people who are secure, have the confidence to ask for help. As a result, they find answers and move ahead of everyone else.
It’s one thing to recognize petty and insecure people in your workplace, but something else entirely to learn how to deal with them. Early in my career I had the opportunity (yes -“opportunity”) to work for one, and it gave me an education into human behavior. It’s particularly challenging when your boss or client is petty and insecure, so particularly if that’s your situation, here’s a few tips about what to do:
Proverbs 18:2 says: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Maybe you know a few people like that. I work in the media business, so I deal with petty and insecure people all the time. What drives me crazy is how they suck the life out of their team. They’re so obsessed with being in charge (and getting credit) even to the point of being willing to drive the organization into the ground. So if you’re wondering if that might be you – or someone you work with – here’s a handy chart to help you identify the petty and insecure people in your office:
I starting thinking the other day about my work as a media consultant for non-profit and religious organizations. At Cooke Pictures, we have some wonderful clients, who are genuinely attempting to do great things in the media, and we’re thrilled to be part of their team. But as I look over my career, I realize now that I’ve spent at least 35-40% of my time at many organizations negotiating the minefields of overly sensitive people. I’m talking about people who are insecure – people who get their feelings hurt at the drop of a hat, or think every suggestion or change in a project is a personal criticism of them or their past decisions.