Afraid of My Boss: How to Deal with Fear of Failure and Being Frowned upon
30 July, 2018 in Career Advice

There are two main categories of people in the workplace. The first category grabs every opportunity to communicate with the boss and share about success or some accomplishments in the task. When a person belongs to the second category of people, he/ she admits that, “I am afraid of my boss” and cannot calmly discuss some important matters with him/ her. Such people avoid contact and attention from bosses as long as they can. There is nothing worse than being involved in a conversation with a chef or a supervisor, especially when the conversation regards overall performance. 

If you also fall into the second category of people, you are probably well familiar with the strategy of being always busy and in a hurry in order to avoid unwanted conversation with your boss. Besides, workers who have the fear of boss tend to learn his/ her schedule in order not to run across him/ her in the hall or while leaving the workplace. 

Have you ever wondered, “Why am I afraid of my boss?” Is it because you have a manipulative boss or a boss who is a tyrant? According to research findings and statistics, the state of being constantly afraid of one’s boss does not merely depend on the boss’s personality or character traits. Frequently, workers are also afraid of bosses who are friendly and open. Unfortunately, feeling afraid for no reason is real and it often restricts one’s development and progress as well as hinders success. Besides, the fear of boss phobia impedes one’s creativity and freedom of action. On the whole, such inexplicable and unjustified neurotic fears can negatively affect the overall progress and workers’ performance. 

“I am afraid of my boss. What am I going to do?”

What to do if the very first thought that comes to your mind at the beginning of the working day is, “I am afraid of my boss. What am I going to do?” Here are a few tips on how to overcome the overwhelming feeling if you are afraid to go to work. 

Realize that it is not only you who suffers from bossophobia

Once my client told me that he would harrow each time he digressed during a meeting or some conference. After having a talk with his friends who was a CEO of a large company back then, he got to know that this problem concerns not only him but is universal. Even his friend, who is a CEO, would frequently worry and get anxious about upcoming meetings, conference calls, meetings with investors, and so on. Usually these fears were based not so much on what others will think about him but what his boss will think. The best tip to overcome this overthinking and anxiety is to realize that even if you make a mistake, your boss will not probably be overly concerned only with the mishaps you make but also with the accomplishments, you have got so far. 

Try to see into things as they are

You cannot change what you do not realize. Therefore, try to acknowledge whether your fears are real or based on some thoughts that exist only in your head. Be honest with yourself: when you think, “I’m scared of my boss,” are you afraid because of some real reasons or are you paralyzed by fear because of someone else’s experience? Maybe your fear is even rooted in some of your childhood experiences? 

When analyzing this situation a little bit closer, you will find out that the fear is irrational and has little to do with your boss. For example, one of the real fears that lie behind your fear of boss is the fear of being dismissed from the job. As such, this fear is especially grave and it greatly influences your productivity, effectiveness, decision-making process, the efficiency in finding solutions to the problems, and even interaction with other people and the overall process of socialization at work. 

When people talk about their fear of bosses, they often reminisce of some past experiences when they were bullied by coworkers and were afraid to tackle the situation due to the risk of reputation worsening or being fired. 

Another reason for fear can be even related to some family problems. For example, one client told a situation when her mother was dismissed from the job, she stayed unemployed for some time and back then got divorced. Such childhood traumas may also serve as triggers why a person might be afraid to speak up in some cases or why the fear of being fired is perceived so acutely. 

I want you to stop being afraid. There lies a specific motif or reason behind each fear. Therefore, when some types of fears overwhelm you, just take a sheet of paper and practice free writing: compose a list of your present fears and think what lies behind them. What do these fears tell you? Voice them. Probably you will get some hidden resource from them and you will find out that it is not these fears that scare you but something else. 

Become an irreplaceable worker

If you have the fear of being yelled at by your boss or if you are simply afraid of your boss and his/ her unfair treatment, become a kind of a worker who will be deeply valued. Establish a rapport with your boss and become an irreplaceable worker. However, keep in mind that this strategy should be attained not via talking but via action. Show with your actions what you are worth. Here many workers try to provide a good impression on their bosses by working at the weekend or staying up late at night. Contrariwise, try to establish your good reputation by how and what you do: increase your productivity, boost your soft and hard skills, and thus demonstrate that you are a reliable and irreplaceable employee. Demonstrate that you can make decisions quickly and effectively, that you can solve problems, predict unfavorable circumstances, and be good at implementing strategies that benefit the company on the whole. 

Mold your professional identity

From the very childhood, people are conditioned to care what others think and say about them. This aspect determines the “social self” that drives the desire of a person to be liked by others. The contrary to this desire is the fear not to be liked. As a result, this phenomenon lead to a person’s wish to mold a professional persona – your social self in the workplace that might actually differ from who you are in reality. 

To create your professional self, take some time for yourself and think who you want to be in your profession, what vision of yourself would you like others to have? It might be hard for you at the beginning as maybe you would need to develop some new character traits, learn and acquire some new modes of behavior, etc. However, despite the fact that it might prove to be inauthentic, creation of your professional self will definitely bear fruits in the future as you will have your image created. 

Regardless of whether your bossophobia stems from your boss’s criticism that took place some time ago or your fearful anticipation of it, you need to get control of it and overcome it as it may cause detrimental effects on your overall performance and your reputation at work.

visibility 1