How to manage your boss when you dislike authority

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash. Behave like a boss or like your boss?

Treat your boss like your clients

Your relationship with your boss is crucial — I learned this the hard way. Your boss controls raises and promotions, opportunities and projects, resources, and essential information. If you want to be an effective leader, you need to nurture your relationship with your boss, period.

Get clarity on how your roles overlap

If you and your manager have frequent misunderstandings, a lack of clarity around your roles is the most likely cause.

Manage your expectations.

The other side of counterdependence is overdependence and some people flip between the two. Overdependent employees have unrealistic expectations of their managers. They see them as all-wise parents who know everything, make no mistakes, and will protect them, train them, and boost their careers.

Make your boss look good

Some people misguidedly believe that if they make their boss look bad, they will benefit. They hope that their superiors will notice the “unfairness” of their predicament and give them their boss’s job. I have not seen this happening, not even once. What I have seen many times is people being seen as unprofessional and immature because they complain about their boss publicly.

Learn from your boss’s strengths

One of my clients, Mary, struggled with her boss. She spent a lot of time criticizing what he did wrong. According to her, he was lazy with a lousy work ethic. He was free-riding on other people’s work and misleading his superiors about his abilities.


If you dislike authority, you might end up becoming an entrepreneur and not having a boss at all. But, until then, it is worth making the most out of the relationship with your managers. Do not let your resistance to authority sidetrack your career and your growth.

Executive Coach at Former Google business leader. Fast Company & Thrive Global Contributor.

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