Uncommon Sense: “Help! My boss is pushy and controlling!”

My boss is pushy and controlling and often takes credit for my hard work. His poor management style is also stressing me out. I don’t want to just give up, and I can’t quit this job. What can I do to make it better?—Feeling Defeated


What’s your take? Give your best advice in the comments below, and your answer might appear in the magazine.

Have your own qualm? Send your questions about manners, parents, partners, or office politics to advice@readersdigest.com. Sending gives us permission to edit and publish.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

39 thoughts on “Uncommon Sense: “Help! My boss is pushy and controlling!”

  1. Work through it. If you love your job, then you can work through how bad of a boss he is. If you work really hard, then maybe you can get a promotion that will get you a much better boss.

  2. This is my advice for Feeling Defeated (May 2013), who has a pushy boss:

    Go to a therapist to discuss work issues and develop a plan with her for coping with the job. Together, you can consider other options if the situation doesn’t improve for you in a timely manner.

  3. If you happen to walk by him, sigh and say “I feel like my hardworking never pays off.” Pretend you do not know he is there. If he does not comment, look straight at him and say “How would you feel if I never gave you credit for your work?” Talk to him as he is a friend. If he says “Excuse me?” respond “Why don’t you ever give your employees credit for their own work?” He will feel guilty. If he says “It doesn’t pay off. You are only and employee.” or something similar, say he is selfish. He will feel guilty, and pray to God he will not fire you.

  4. Dear Defeated:
    Well Jason Garrett, you may as well quit as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones is never gonna change!!!

  5. Since you said that you “can’t quit this job” I think the answer is obvious: suck it up, do your job as well as you possibly can, and let your competence outshine your boss’s selfishness. In the end, you’ll be the better person.

  6. I have found that people who are pushy and controlling are really insecure and afraid. They come across as bullies because they are acting out of fear. As my mom (may she rest in peace) always told us, “kill him with kindness” by engaging him instead of rejecting him. If you can work to make him look successful, it will help you and make you feel fabulous about yourself. If that still doesn’t work, then you either need to get a thicker skin or find another job.

  7. the boss is the boss. you cannot confront him or you will be fired. you just have to deal with him/her. so, shut up & get back to work.

  8. I would suggest confronting your boss and telling him what he does that you don’t like, and also tell him exactly how you feel. I would also suggest telling him to talk to some of your co-workers, and have THEM tell him how THEY feel about him. Maybe if he sees how he truly makes you feel, he will improve.

  9. Are there any workers who may have authority over your boss? If so, perhaps you can confide in them to let them know what’s going on. The worst that can happen is that you will be turned down. But, hey, you never know- if your boss really does have a poor management style,one last complaint might finally get him fired.

  10. A good boss will give his employees recognition for the ways
    that they have contributed to the company. This will boost morale and will make
    the employees more motivated to do good work. Perhaps you could tell him how
    you feel- that you would like to be recognized for the hard work that you’ve
    done. Tell him in a way that points out the way that this could benefit him and
    you will both win!

  11. A boss normally gets credit for the success of those people in his or her charge, you
    have to live with that part. Anything you do to attempt to make this situation
    better outside of asking for a transfer is likely to make the situation worse. The
    way you set this situation up, “I don’t want to just give up, and I can’t quit
    this job” says that you prefer to be a helpless victim with no way out. Of
    course there is a way out. Find another job. Yes, it’s a bad job market and
    it’s likely to be difficult but that’s what you have to do to improve your
    situation. Sooner or later you WILL do it. I suggest getting another job before
    you quit the one you have but it’s time to pull on your big boy or big girl
    pants and take care of business. In order to succeed you have to over come
    equating “difficult” with “impossible”.

  12. I would recommend going to corporate, But if you are in a Corporate position, take it one step closer. There is always a step above you. So take it to that step, and see where that ends up.

  13. I have had this problem MANY times in my past. What I did to remedy it, was to shine like a bright penny, learn their job and do it better than they do. I can bet, within 1 year, YOU”LL be the boss, cause I ALWAYS, was!

  14. Now that you’ve defined the word “boss”, what was the problem? Seriously, if your boss is taking credit for your ideas, the best advice I can offer is to present your ideas to others first. That way, his idea-stealing behavior will not go unnoticed by your peers. Another approach may be to informally run your ideas by his boss before you speak with your boss. Take care with this second method, as it could be construed as breaking the chain of command. Try not to concern yourself so much with his management style. Believe me, your not the only one who is aware of it, and, if it’s bad enough, it will be his undoing. Shake off the stress and keep doing your job at the best of your ability, and, ultimately, all will be well in the workplace.

  15. I’m sorry to hear you are going through this, in our modern era of first world problems, yours sounds very serious. Well, on the bright side there is time to commit suicide during the weekend, and I mean that in the kindest way, despite what it says. Never let your boss make you feel like he own’s you, show him who’s boss sweetie!

  16. Not enough information! Pushy and controlling are value judgements as is “poor management style” A “boss” is supposed to be “the boss”! Why not try to find a more light hearted approach? Look deeper into why he seems to act this way. In the end humor and kindness win out!

  17. How about focusing on your own job? I’m sure supervising your boss isn’t in your job description. So what if he gets the credit? You get the paycheck. When you get to be boss, you can manage in the style that suits you. In the meantime, stop stressing yourself out with your jealousy and pride.

  18. Your boss may not know how to be a boss (has he recently been promoted?). Approach him with humility and loyalty, thank him for the opportunity to be a part of the “team,” and express your desire to do your part for the good of the company. You just might be the one to initiate that valuable atmosphere of comradery instead of competition! Aren’t we all links in the chain?

  19. When he gives you a task for which he usually takes credit, do not provide it all at once. Let him use his rusty brains.

  20. Try to take a day off when he needs you the most. Let him realize your importance

  21. his
    topic is so common. As a “Boss” and a “Owner of a business that I
    built” over years. I have found so many people who know more than me
    in 1 minute than I have learned in 40 years. Ego, conceit, jealous,
    youth and just plain rage. Yes, there is common ground. What does an
    employer owe an employee? Honesty, decency and a fair wage. An unhappy
    employee is like a cancer. Move on, get another job if you can find
    one. Try to change that employer or boss, then move on again.

  22. My first boss was insecure but honest. He said, ” I want you to know that I’ll be taking credit for all the good work you do”. I said, ” You can have all the credit, just make sure I get the money.” My raises were always good and he promoted me often. The thing that I didn’t realize and was surprised to find out was that he may have taken the credit but everyone knew I did the work. Because I worked hard and didn’t blow my own horn, I was able to make out financially as well as advancing my career as other managers respected me for my loyalty and my work ethics.

  23. Your boss may not even realize that he is being over-aggressive, they may just be trying to lead and are approaching it with too much enthusiasm. In my experience it is always a good idea to ask to speak with your boss privately. Explain that you have been trying to put your best foot forward but feel that your hard work comes up unnoticed and that you would like to have recognition for your accomplishments. It may be worth it to point out some of your boss’s strengths that you admire and would like to emulate. If you put yourself in a position that makes your boss feel good, they are more likely to give you the credit that you deserve.

  24. When you do a project for your boss be sure your name is prominently displayed as the author of the work. If it is a verbal project be sure to mention how many hours YOU spent on researching the information. Basically don’t back down and cower in a corner. Let it be known who did the work so it becomes glaringly obvious it was you who did the job.

  25. You say you can’t quit this job – why not? That is certainly an option. Re-evaluate the reasons you think you have to stay. Perhaps you just fear the unknown?

  26. To pass on a little advice given me several years ago, “to change someone you must first change yourself”. So quit thinking about how bad you have it with this boss and realize he/she is human too and has problems too. Try showing some compassion too. Say a prayer daily for whatever troubles this person. It has been said that it order for some people to feel good about themselves, they need to make others feel bad.

  27. In a situation like this, SIDEWAYS can be the best route UP and AROUND your problem boss, especially if you’re young and/or new to your industry. Always volunteer for the inter-departmental projects, even if all you initially get to do is take notes and make coffee. Circulate the interesting articles you read in your industry’s trade publications — you DO read your industry’s trade publications, don’t you? and you DO circulate those articles, don’t you? — not only within your department but also outside it, especially to your boss’s peers in other functional areas. If all else fails, approach HR about a sideways transfer: make it clear you’re not looking for more money or a higher job title right now, just a chance to “cross-train, so that I can be more useful in achieving corporate objectives.” Pretty soon that boss of yours is going to start noticing how all his or her peers keep complimenting him or her on that go-getting new employee: YOU. And maybe he or she will actually start having to fight to keep you :) Other than that, just pick your times and places to color outside the lines. It’s usually okay to present a great, creative, radical new idea even if it doesn’t get adopted…but it’s NEVER okay not to dress for the job you want rather than the job you already have.

  28. For really big problems think outside the box. Think big. Go to the manufacturer. Ask Creator God to give you a game plan. He’s dealt with a lot more bad bosses than we can imagine. His solutions can be wild and creative. i have seen Him remove people I felt were obstructing ministry opportunities. to hurting people I wanted to help. But give Him time. You don’t want to go from the frying pan into the fire (a worse boss).

  29. Try to make your boss see what he’s doing wrong, but mention it casually, as if it’s not too important. If you put too much stress on it, he may get upset with you. But if you make it seem less of an imperfection on his part, he’ll be less reluctant, seeing as though it’s in his control, not yours.

  30. Just do the best work that can possibly be done. Who cares at the end of the day what someone thinks or says as long as you know that you did the best that could be done. I have been lucky i guess im 38 and have had the same job and same boss since my junior year in high school. I work for a heating and air conditioning company. I dont think that i have ever scene my boss get upset or lose his temper or get pushy about how the jobs turn out. Sometimes every now and then for some off the wall reason things happen. Hey like i tell him i am working the fastest and most productive i can. If your not satisfied with it i could always use your help to show me how it could be done better. He doesnt want to crawl under houses anymore so it usually ends there. The person is your boss not your spouse. Let it go in one ear and out the other so to speak. It is possible if you learn how to not let the little things bother you.

  31. I will be watching this post, I want answers to this issue myself. Unfortunately in the corporate sector we don’t always have any choice in how our managers interact with their employees, they are only rated on their personal performance and our concerns are never addressed.

    1. Yow. I’m sure glad I don’t work for, or with, YOU. By behaving in this fashion the letter-writer would be no better than his or her problem boss! There is NEVER an excuse for off-ethics; if your company atmosphere demands them, find another job.

  32. If you think he’s the only one that notices your hard work, chances are your wrong. Other people will see, and eventually the right person will rise to the top. If it’s suggestions being made, always offer suggestions when others are present, or in group emails. Besides, work’s not always fun, that’s why they call it work and not play. sometimes you just have to push through the hard times and have faith that it’s going to get better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy