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How to deal with an unsupportive boss

Most of us meet all kinds of challenges on our professional journeys – but having a boss who doesn’t support us is one of the toughest, writes Melody Wilding for Forbes

However, there are ways to build the strength and resilience you need to be your own advocate, without rocking the boat en route.

We can all recognise a good boss – someone who encourages employees to shine, deals with issues swiftly and believes in mutual trust and respect.


Then there’s a whole raft of reasons for a boss to be considered “bad”, but how do you spot a manager who isn’t supporting you well? Wilding, a workplace success coach, says these are clear signs:

They often miss or cancel meetings with you.

  • They are hypercritical of your work.
  • They don’t make constructive comments or suggestions.
  • They exclude you from more interesting tasks.
  • They don’t back you for a salary review or promotion opportunity.
  • They do things that will actively block your progress.

“Working under an unsupportive boss can make it a challenge to go to work every day, ultimately stunting your professional growth if it goes on for long enough,” says Wilding.


Here are her six top tips to help you progress in spite of the boss:

1) Take a good look at yourself first. Be very honest with your answers. Ask yourself whether you have earned the boss’s support. Did you give them a clear indication of your ambitions? Examine the achievements and characteristics of your peers. Look at how effectively you and your boss communicate – can you share worries and expectations?

“You can choose to be assertive and not to be a victim of your situation,” says Wilding.

2) Maintain loyalty to your boss. Keep supporting this person while they are managing you, even if it goes against the grain. It can only benefit you to be seen as a proactive team player, striving for the success of your department.

3) Remain calm and diplomatic. If you want to improve your relationship you need to discuss your problems. Request time to talk, then express yourself calmly and politely, putting the emphasis on finding solutions.

4) Demonstrate your qualities. Build a reputation as an efficient person who embraces challenges and makes an effort to do top-quality work. Express the impact of your achievements on the bigger company picture, such as revenue increases.

5) Don’t seek approval. If your boss won’t recognise your worth, do your best for the sake of your own reputation. Expanding skills and making new contacts can only improve your career outlook.

6) Find other influential supporters. Your immediate boss is almost certainly not the only person in your organisation who can offer you valuable encouragement and back up. Look to other leaders on your wavelength who could support your career progression. Make sure they notice you by offering to take on tricky challenges and build a network of people who can verify the quality of your work.

While having an unsupportive boss can feel like an overwhelming burden, it is possible to look beyond it, learn from it, and turn it to your advantage.

Source Article: What To Do When You Have An Unsupportive Boss
Author(s): Melody Wilding
Publisher: Forbes